The Automobile Club de l’Ouest has reported the viewing figures for the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans including television viewership and social media interaction numbers.
The esports endurance event was held last weekend, on the original date that the 24 Hours of Le Mans was due to take place before it was rescheduled to September amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The race, which was held on rFactor 2 and run by the ACO, the FIA World Endurance Championship and Motorsport Games, was won by Rebellion Williams Esport’s driving crew of Louis Deletraz, Raffaele Marciello, Kuba Brzezinski and Nikodem Wisniewski.
It attracted a cumulative TV audience of 14.2 million sets across 57 different countries with segments broadcast by the likes of ESPN, Eurosport, Sky Sports and J-Sports.
Combined with almost 49 million social media impressions during race week, this created a cumulative digital audience of 63 million.
The Twitter hashtag #LeMans24Virtual was used 131.5 million times, while 13 million connections were made to the Alkamel live timing system to follow the race.
A total of 8,669,683 video views were registered across the 24H Le Mans, WEC and Motorsport Games social media channels, contributing towards a potential reach of 3.37 billion people.
“This first edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans virtual was indeed worthy of the Le Mans name, and it perfectly captured all the excitement, tension and magic that is seen in real life at the Circuit de la Sarthe every June,” said ACO President Pierre Fillon.
“Our congratulations to all the competitors and all the teams who made this incredible event possible.”
Motorsport Games CEO Dmitry Kozko suggested that the event “illustrated what is possible” in a collaboration between real-world motorsport and esports.
“The co-operation, dedication and partnership of everyone involved in the project enabled us to take racing esports to the next level,” he said.
“The biggest teams and drivers in racing and in esports were quick to see the potential of the event and that is reflected in these stunning results.”
The virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans organizing team was made up of 130 people working on production, marketing, media, TV, logistics, the sporting side and other aspects.
The race broadcast was transmitted from a live studio in Paris and included interviews with over 30 special guests including several big names from motorsport, while two of the 50 professional teams took part in the race on-site.
“Such an event would not have been possible without the enthusiasm and belief of all our partners, starting with the ACO and Motorsport Games and our competitors plus our commercial partners who allowed us to capitalize on this event and share it on a global basis,” said WEC CEO Gerard Neveu.
“A huge thank you to everyone involved, especially the fans and the organization team.”