Raffaele Marciello, Louis Deletraz, Kuba Brzezinski and Nikodem Wisniewski have won the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans for the Rebellion Williams Esport team.
The quartet, made up of two real-world drivers and two professional sim racers, finished 17.7 seconds ahead of the similarly-composed ByKolles Burst Esport crew of Tom Dillmann, Esteban Guerrieri, Jesper Pedersen and pole-sitter Jernej Simoncic.
The No. 13 Rebellion-Williams car driven by Jack Aitken, Agustin Canapino, Michael Romanidis and late lineup addition Marc Gassner completed the top three.
ByKolles was third heading into the final round of pit stops midway through the last hour but stayed out a lap longer than the Rebellion cars that were running first and second in a bid to gain a strategic edge.
Simoncic gained some time to be right up on the tail of Romanidis and made a pass when his rival tripped up at the Dunlop chicane.
Romandis then responded by drafting through on the run down to the Indianapolis kink, before Simoncic pulled off a brave move down the inside at the Porsche Curves.
However, this dueling only enabled the No. 1 Rebellion-Williams car’s lead to grow and Wisniewski was able to take the checkered flag without his position being threatened.
Having started eighth on the 50-car grid, the No. 1 car progressed to the front in the tenth hour when erstwhile leader Max Verstappen spun out of contention.
It then controlled the race through the night and into Sunday morning as the number of cars on the lead lap thinned out to just three by the time the second of two red flags interrupted proceedings with four and a half hours remaining.
This stoppage brought the leaders’ advantage over their No. 13 teammates down from almost two minutes to under 20 seconds, but solid stints from Brzezinski, Deletraz and Wisniewski ensured that the lead was kept.
An earlier red flag brought the racing to a temporary halt shortly before one-quarter distance. Both instances were caused by rFactor 2 server resets.
The battle for fourth place involved three cars and was led at the end by the 2 Seas Motorsport Oreca of Oliver Rowland, Isa Bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa, Rory MacDuff and Devin Braune.
Braune overtook Jarno Opmeer in the final stint, putting the 2 Seas team ahead of the Veloce Esports crew that also featured Jean-Eric Vergne, Pierre Gasly and Isaac Gillissen.
Around half a minute adrift of Opmeer in sixth was the No. 3 Rebellion-Williams car driven by Yifei Ye, Arthur Rougier, Isaac Price and Jack Keithley.
Early race leader E-Team WRT recovered from an internet connection failure to finish seventh and two laps down with Audi GT aces Kelvin van der Linde and Dries Vanthoor among the drivers.
WRT came through one spot ahead of experienced LMP2 squad TDS Racing, the Jenson Button-led Team Rocket Zansho and IDEC Sport which completed the top ten.
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s WEC team came through in 11th with the No. 8 car that was driven by Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, Kenta Yamashita and Yuri Kasdorp.
The quartet finished three laps down but had a consistent run through the night to recover from a high-speed spin into the Indianapolis tire barriers early on for Hartley.
Team Redline’s No. 20 car that lead early portions of the race through Verstappen and Lando Norris finished 25th after being reinstated on the grid during the second red flag.
Verstappen’s tenth-hour accident resulted in the team superficially retiring from the race before returning to action for the final four hours after a server reset.
Another early contender, the No. 16 Veloce Esports car that had Stoffe Vandoorne among its drivers, ended up 13th after losing its top-five place through a clash with a GTE car in hour nine.
Pole-Sitting Porsche Wins GTE by a Lap
Nick Tandy, Ayhancan Güven, Josh Rogers and Tommy Ostgaard dominated the GTE category to claim victory by over a lap from their nearest rival in second place.
The No. 93 Porsche 911 RSR started from pole and remained in the hunt throughout the first six hours despite losing its lead to Dempsey-Proton Racing.
Güven scaled from third to first in the laps after the restart from Saturday’s red flag in Hour 7, which set the Porsche in a leading position it would refuse to relinquish.
Second place went to Aston Martin Racing’s Richard Westbrook, Nicki Thiim, Lasse Sorensen and Manuel Biancolilla.
The lineup that included three real-world drivers, in a race where two sim racers were allowed, played a consistent hand and gradually moved up through the top ten over the duration.
Sorensen finished a minute and 20 seconds clear of Daniel Juncadella, who earned a virtual podium with his R8G Esports co-drivers Mathias Beche, Erhan Jajovski and Risto Kappet.
The R8G Chevrolet Corvette C7.R was on course to finish second when Kappet was guided into the barriers along the Mulsanne Straight by the No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE.
The contact resulted in a loss of time to repair the damage and put the Aston Martin within range before the positions swapped later in the race.
AMR was also helped by the third-placed No. 92 factory Porsche dropping down the order from third with just under two hours to go because of a server connection issue during a driver change.
In fourth at the end was the No. 64 Corvette Racing car which moved up a place in the final hour as Alen Terzic got the better of Dempsey-Proton’s Kevin van Dooren.
Terzic shared the Corvette with three real-world racing co-drivers in Tommy Milner, Jan Magnussen and Dennis Lind.
The best-placed Ferrari at the end was the No. 71 in seventh, while the No. 52 car driven by F1 stars Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi lost 15 laps due to a series of glitches and connection problems.