New to esports and interested to understand more about how it works? The FIA World Endurance Championship has provided a detailed Q&A for this weekend’s virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans:
How were the entries decided upon?
The selection for this race is not linked at all to the selection for the real 24 Hours of Le Mans as it brings together the best of racing teams and esports squads. The selection was made by a committee representing both motorsport and esports.
How are teams made up?
Each line up consists of four drivers. Each must contain at least two professional drivers with an International FIA license or equivalent. The other two can be either sim racers or professional drivers. As in the real 24 Hours of Le Mans, drivers are not permitted to drive in more than one car.
Why only 50 cars?
A 50-car grid will enable us to keep the online service as stable as possible. Adding additional cars would add unnecessary risk to an already complex event. We will have 200 drivers from all over the world joining the race, so we need to minimize the chances of any disruption.
What cars are available for this event?
There are two classes of car in the race – LMP and GTE. There is one LMP model based on the Oreca 07 Gibson, and four GTE models: Aston Martin Vantage, Corvette C.7R, Ferrari 488 GTE and Porsche 911 RSR.
Car numbers for the LMP class are between 1-50 and for the GTE class between 51-99.
Can teams choose how their car looks?
Just like in real life, teams are free to design their own liveries, with a few areas being left free for official partners (such as windscreen banner).
What platform will this be run on?
The event will be run on the rFactor 2 platform which offers advantages including driver changes, dynamic weather conditions, dynamic day/night transitions, multi class racing (LMP and GTE).
How much practice will teams and drivers get?
Each driver must take part in at least one of the three test races (held in the two weeks before the race) in order to familiarize themselves with the game, the rules and procedures. Drivers must complete a minimum of ten laps (including a minimum of five full timed laps, whilst the five other laps can be pits out – pits in loops) during an official Test Session or Test Race.
There are four free practice sessions available between June 9-12 but they are not mandatory. They are open pit lane sessions and one person per team may compete at any time when the pit lane is open.
How does qualifying work?
A 20-minute qualifying session will be held for GTE cars only on Friday June 12 from 6:10-6:30 p.m., and 20-minutes for LMP cars only from 6:40-7 p.m.. The team with the lowest time will start on pole position and the highest time will start in last place. The starting grid will be split by class so that the top GTE car will start behind the last placed LMP car.
Teams are only required to field one driver in qualifying but may choose to change drivers at their discretion so you’re going to have to keep watching to see who goes fastest!
Is there a Hyperpole?
There will be no Hyperpole in play. Fans will have to wait for the real 24 Hours of Le Mans in September to witness the first ever Hyperpole in action.
Can teams work on their car’s set-up?
Absolutely! The software allows teams to optimize their car setup such as suspension changes, downforce levels and gear ratios. Pretty much everything that they can change and optimize in real life is simulated within the game.
Do all the GTE cars have the same level of performance?
The cars competing in GTE are based on production models which are fundamentally different from each other. To create a more level playing field, the GTE category has a BOP (Balance of Performance) applied by the developers of rFactor2.
How long can each driver be behind the wheel / their sim set up during the 24 hours?
The race will run for 24 hours non-stop, but the rules on time are strict to prevent fatigue and drop off in performance. It’s up to each entry’s Team Manager to make sure they comply with the rules and that the driver taking the next stint is awake and ready to enter the game!
Minimum race time per driver in the race will be 4 hours (240 minutes); maximum race time per driver in the race will be 7 hours (420 minutes). Drivers may not drive more than 3 hours within a 5-hour period. Not respecting the minimum and maximum driving time may result in a penalty from the race officials.
Will there be any changes to daylight during the race?
As in the real life 24H, drivers race through daylight, dusk, night, dawn and back into daylight. This will be replicated.
How do driver changes work?
There is a system within the game that facilitates the driver changes and, just as in real life, the drivers must come into the pits and bring the car to a stop to instigate the change-over. This will then hand control of the car over to the next driver.
How do pitstops work?
Drivers will be required to pit for fuel, new Michelin tires and carry out driver changes. If the car sustains damage it will affect a car’s performance, but damage can be repaired in a pitstop. The car will be drivable but may not perform as well as at the start.
Will there be a Safety Car?
There is one safety car which will be controlled by a driver(s) nominated by the organizers. A safety car can be deployed at any time at the discretion of the Race Director. Competitors will be informed using voice chat.
Will there be warning flags?
As in the real thing, there will be blue flags signaling a slower car and yellow flags for incidents in a specified area of the track. Race Control may also call a “Full Course Yellow” which slows cars over a section of the track, usually to allow an incident to be cleared or for track repairs to be made. At this time the drivers will be required to reduce their speed to 60kph (pit lane speed limiter) until advised they can resume racing by Race Control.
What level of damage will be simulated during the race?
Cars can suffer significant damage during the race which will affect the performance of the car. If the car is able to make it back to the pit lane then this can be repaired.
Will there be a race director?
Yes, the official FIA WEC Race Director Eduardo Freitas will be monitoring the race just as he would do for the real-life 24 Hours of Le Mans. He will be working with a team of assistants to keep an eye on drivers’ behavior on track.
How will driving behavior be monitored?
All drivers must be familiar with the sporting regulations, including the Code of Conduct, and the written race briefing from the race officials. There will also be a mandatory video briefing that will take place the day before the race. The important thing to remember is that this is a TEAM GAME…if one driver makes a mistake and incurs a penalty, it potentially damages not only his chances of victory but also those of his team-mates.
What penalties can be applied?
Penalties range from a reprimand, a drive-through, a stop-and-go, a time penalty (post-race) through to disqualification. Penalties applied by the officials cannot be appealed.
What happens if you get a technical fault during the race?
We are looking at a number of solutions to minimize the influence of any technical faults. For example, we are able to use the safety car should something happen. We are also working closely with all of our partners to have a toolbox of solutions.
Should a team disconnect from the server, the car will be returned to the pit lane with a 5-minute penalty to be served upon. If there is a driver change, there will be a 6-minute penalty. Fuel and tires cannot be changed upon re-joining the server.
COMMUNICATION AND VISIBILITY
How will drivers communicate with the organizers?
There will be a variety of ways in which we will communicate. We will have a dedicated Team Speak server which allows the organizers and Race Control to communicate directly with all of the teams and drivers. We will also be in contact via Skype for interviews and reaction during the race itself.
Can drivers talk to each other during the race?
The drivers will be able to communicate with their team via a private Team Speak channel, just as they would be for the regular race. They will not be in contact with rival teams.
How can we be sure who is actually driving during the race?
All drivers must be connected to the organizer’s Zoom video streaming conference call with a clear line of sight to their face with no obstructions when they are racing.
Will drivers be filmed during the race?
This will vary from team to team. There will be two teams racing from the studio in a socially distanced environment. These will be filmed. Other teams may well choose to film their drivers and stream their individual POV.
Must their audio be switched on?
Drivers are permitted to mute their mics while racing.
Will fans be able to watch on-board footage during the race or will there be only one main feed?
The main feed will incorporate on-boards, as well as broadcast cameras. However, a number of the teams and drivers will also be streaming their individual races for fans to enjoy.