Jordan Taylor says the level of preparation for this weekend’s virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans has been “a big eye opener” as he, along with his real-life Corvette Racing teammates, get up to speed in the virtual world of endurance racing.
The 2015 Le Mans GTE-Pro class winner has teamed up with Nicky Catsburg and professional sim racers Alexander Voss and Laurin Heinrich in one of two Corvette Racing-entered Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs for the ACO-organized sim race.
It comes in place of the real-life French endurance classic, which was scheduled for this weekend but postponed to September due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The virtual Le Mans will mark Taylor’s first professional sim racing start despite having previous experience in platforms such as iRacing and rFactor 2.
“I’ve had a simulator for years and have been with SimCraft but I just use it for my own learning and fun before events,” Taylor told Sportscar365.
“This has been a big eye opener.
“It’s definitely a lot of work. I’d say the preparation seems like more than a normal real-world event for me just because I’m trying to figure everything out.”
Taylor said he’s put in roughly 20 hours of sim racing in his virtual Corvette C7.R so far although has credited co-drivers Voss and Heinrich for being “super helpful” in providing tips to master the rFactor 2 sim platform.
“There’s a lot of little things that I’m trying to figure out like the driver changes and stuff that’s super complicated and then just understanding the tricks of how to be fast on a sim vs. real life,” he explained.
“I think [Jan] Magnussen and I are the most old-school drivers in our team where we just like to drive the car like it’s supposed to be driven.
“At times it’s super frustrating because we could be way off the pace and it makes absolutely no sense.
“[The sim racers] then tell us all these little weird things that they do in the game to get lap time out of it.
“It’s been a weird process. There’s a lot of little details where everything has to go right for everything to work.
“In real life you have punctures which are unknowns but I think there’s been some server crashes in testing. Little things can go wrong and really destroy your race.
“Like with the driver change, if you forget a button and you come into the pits and you try to change driver and you forgot one of the buttons, you could be out of the race.
“In real life you know what you’re doing and with this it’s all new to everyone so I’m sure there’s going be lots of checklists and understanding process.”
Taylor said crew from the Pratt & Miller-run operation, including team manager Ben Johnson, have been actively involved in pre-race preparations and will also be playing a helping hand in the race.
“They’ll be monitoring race control and stuff and kind of walking us through on the radio with the driver changes like they do in real life,” he said.
“Except instead of remembering your belts and the air hose it will be to ‘remember to push the F2 and R buttons.’
“It’s definitely weird but I think it’s also good practice when we’re all just kind of waiting to do the next real race.”
Virtual 24H Le Mans Next Best Thing to Real Life
While admitting that it’s “impossible” for virtual Le Mans to take the place of the real-life race, which Corvette has withdrawn for this year, Taylor said the team’s presence this weekend does help make up for it in other ways.
“I think this is a good way for us to stay involved with [the ACO], keep our face there at Le Mans,” he said.
“If it can’t be in real life but at least virtually we can be there and be involved.
“I think it’s a cool idea that they’re putting [the race] on for everyone. They’ve got all manufacturers involved, which is nice and I should get some good engagement from the fans, so I think it was a good idea from everyone.”