Nick Tandy says Porsche’s GTE class victory in the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans was a true “team effort” between Porsche Motorsport and its esports associates.
The Englishman became the first driver to win Le Mans in both real life and in virtual form, having shared driving duties with Porsche Junior Ayhancan Guven and sim racers Josh Rogers and Tommy Ostgaard, who are both part of the VRS Coanda Simsport team.
The German-based entities fielded a total of four virtual Porsche 911 RSRs in the race, with the No. 93 car having led from the seventh hour of the race.
Tandy’s class win came five years to the day of his overall triumph at Le Mans, at the wheel of a Porsche 919 Hybrid in 2015, while also being on the 50th anniversary weekend of Porsche’s first Le Mans victory with Hans Hermann and Richard Atwood in a Porsche 917K.
“I’m super happy to have been part of the team,” he said. “Endurance racing is a team sport. To share a car with these guys, Tommy, Josh, Ayhancan…
“There were so many people working behind the scenes. It’s a fun thing for me because the sim racing is not my forte; it’s not my normal thing. But the competition aspect and the way we go racing is exactly the same.
“That’s two Le Mans wins for me, which makes me really, really happy.”
Porsche’s three other entries were primed for podium finishes although both the Nos. 91 and 92 cars had server issues and the No. 94 entry suffered multiple accidents.
Guven, who moved into Coanda’s sim headquarters in the northern German city of Gronau as part of pre-event preparations, said it was a “pretty nerve-wracking” final few hours to watch.
“Victory feels great, especially since we’ve had some extremely exhausting weeks of preparation,” he said.
“The perfect teamwork paid off, and we deserve this win. We were definitely the fastest GTE vehicle in the field throughout the race.
“My first win at Le Mans is a virtual one – hopefully, I’ll be able to compete in the real race one day.”
Coanda supplied a total of eight sim racers for the event, with a total of 30 people between Porsche and Coanda involved in the overall project.
“I’m particularly proud that we were able to win as the Porsche Esports Team today,” said Porsche Motorsport Esports manager Marco Ujhasi.
“For me and many others, the story behind it began years ago: in 2013 we won Le Mans with the 911 RSR on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911.
“In 2018, the victory coincided with the ’70 Years of Porsche Sports Cars‘ celebration. And now, exactly 50 years after Porsche’s first overall Le Mans victory, we secured the GTE class win at the inaugural virtual edition.
“This was not only thanks to the four drivers in the number 93 car but also to a 30-strong team.
“And we also have to acknowledge our partners, Coanda Simsport and Peter Dimov, the founder of the Virtual Racing School, for this great success.”
Tandy added: “We have some very difficult months behind us. The long break without real racing was and is a real strain for everyone at Porsche Motorsport, as well as for the fans and the drivers.
“For this reason, the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans was a brilliant initiative to revive motor racing.”