The opening spherical of the inaugural Le Mans Virtual Series took to the commemorated Autodromo Nazionale Monza for 4 hours of reside multi-class racing.
The RE8G Esports ORECA 07 of Erhan Jajovski clinched pole place a day earlier on the head of the sector with Esports stalwart Kevin Siggy main GTE class for BMW Staff Redline after inserting the automobile in first throughout qualifying.
Nobody was positive how the grid of 38 vehicles would handle racing all the way down to the Variante del Rettifilo on the primary lap. With 4 hours of racing forward, and three drivers per automobile, warning ought to have been the precedence on the early laps.
The LMP2 class was a mannequin of fine behaviour, with Jajovski controlling the sector when the lights went inexperienced. In GTE, beginning a number of moments later, Joonas Raivio shot out from fourth to grab the lead earlier than the primary nook, with Timotej Andonovski for TESLA R8G Esports pulling an analogous transfer to take second from eighth on the grid.
That battle would additionally end in frustration minutes later, because the #77 Porsche Proton Competitors piloted by Kevin van Dooren and the fast-stating Andonovski tangled on the Variante della Roggia, sending them down the order and leading to a drive-through penalty for the TESLA R8G driver.
Nuno Pinto within the Staff Fordzilla LMP2 automobile additionally acquired a drivethrough for a false begin.
On the entrance of the pack, Jesper Pedersen for Floyd ByKolles-Burst was searching down Jajovski, closing to effectively inside half a second. Within the combat, the highest two went large into the opening nook permitting GPX Riot Williams driver Marcell Csincsik to make it a three-way combat on the half-hour mark.
The primary spherical of LMP2 pitlane visits began at 34 minutes, with Jajovski extending his benefit out entrance.
The GTE class continued to ship shut battles, with Porsche Esports Staff driver deJong making his technique to the top of the sector after a tentative begin. The primary pitstops didn’t arrive till the one-hour mark.
R8G Esports then switched drivers, Gordon Mutch taking the wheel of the main #8 machine. Sadly, after a go to to the gravel on the exit of the Variante della Roggia, he spun and whereas parked throughout the monitor, was hit by the #61 Porsche of Alister Yoong and the #38 JOTA automobile of Ferris Stanley.
Jonathan Aberdein, now taking on the #44 from Michi Hoyer, prevented the chaos and took the lead, whereas Mutch and Stanley returned to the pits with heavy harm.
Aberdein didn’t have it simple although, as Jeffrey Rietveld was all around the South African racing driver. The Realteam Hydrogen Redline driver ultimately took the lead on the within of Flip 1 after a number of makes an attempt across the outdoors of the Curva Alboreto.
Because the race progressed, catastrophe struck Marco Saupe within the Staff WRT SIMTAG Esports automobile as he was hit from behind whereas stationary in his pit field by the Team Fordzilla entry pushed by Luke Browning, damaging each autos.
The drama continued for the Staff WRT SIMTAG Esports, later setting on fireplace across the Curva Grande and into retirement.
With 100 minutes left on the clock, the race-leading #70 automobile pitted forward of a frantic three-car battle for second, presently headed by 2021 ELMS champion Yifei Ye.
Quickly after, race director Eduardo Freitas issued a stern reminder that blue flags should be revered, as vehicles inside every class began lapping one another. The eighth-placed Beitske Visser within the Mahle Racing Staff entry was the final automobile on the lead lap approaching the ultimate quarter of the race.
Within the last hour, the GTE main Porsche had checked out with a 30-second benefit, placing the deal with the 2 duelling BMWs for second place. The BMW Staff GB M8 pushed by Sami-Matti Trogen was forward of BMW Staff Redline’s Enzo Bonito, however after a flash of the headlights, Bonito made it by underneath brakes on the first nook.
With the race in its last hour, Juncadella was now within the main Realteam Hydrogen LMP2 automobile and stored the hole to the chasing pack to 17 seconds – the hard-charging Jiri Toman, a race winner in GT Pro Series this year, in second at this stage for GPX Riot Williams. The main GTE Porsche pitted one lap sooner than the chasing BMWs however regained the lead as soon as they’d taken their fourth cease.
With slightly below half-hour left, the ultimate cease for Toman was queued up. Pitting later than the chief meant that his pitstop was shorter and noticed Juncadella’s lead lower to only over eight seconds.
This arrange a novel proposition for the ultimate stint, because the race was led by a professional motorsport driver, defending in opposition to an on-form Esports professional. Equally, in GTE, BMW Staff Redline had opted for longer stints than its rivals all through the race, exiting the pits for the ultimate time in second, simply two seconds behind the main Porsche pushed by Mack Bakkum.
Juncadella was greater than as much as the duty, nonetheless, profitable along with his team-mates Rietveld and Smidl for Realteam Hydrogen Redline by 7.8 seconds. Second-placed Toman in the end got here underneath strain from the present GT Pro Series championship leader Jernej Simoncic, however an premature lapped GTE automobile dissolved the battle.
“We had a extremely, actually easy race. That was the important thing,” mentioned the present DTM driver Juncadella.
“Jeffrey did a tremendous first stint and Michal took over his tyres, which is rarely simple. In the direction of the top, I simply needed to drive it dwelling. A stunning race.”
In the meantime, within the GTE class, it was a masterful efficiency by the manufacturer-backed Porsche workforce, balancing the lead from the opening half-hour till the top.
“Mitchell and Martin did such an important job earlier than I took over the automobile, in the long run, it was actually about bringing it dwelling,” defined Mack Bakkum.
“We did get a shock in the long run with BMW Staff Redline after they skipped tyre adjustments, however we knew that even when they got here out barely forward we might have had an enormous tempo benefit.”
LMP2 Digital Le Mans Sequence, Spherical 1, Monza, Outcome
- #70 Realteam Hydrogen Redline – 147 laps
- #22 GPX Riot Williams +7.865s
- #4 Floyd ByKolles-Burst +9.853s
- #444 Alpha Ind. ByKolles-Burst +27.063s
- #1 Riot GPX Esports +49.913s
GTE Digital Le Mans Sequence, Spherical 1 Monza, Outcomes
- #91 Porsche Esports Staff – 133 laps
- #71 BMW Staff Redline +7.530s
- #88 Proton Competitors +1 lap
- #55 BMW Staff GB +1 lap
- #89 BMW Staff BS+COMPETITION +1 lap