McLaren Formula One driver, Lando Norris and Red Bull Racing Formula One driver, Max Verstappen teamed up to win the iRacing 24 Hours of Spa endurance race on the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. Norris and Verstappen teamed up to make the Team Redline PRT squad, taking the Audi R8 LMS to the track alongside sim racing players Max Wenig and Max Benecke.
As Verstappen was heading towards the chequered flag in the final half hour of the race, the brake pedal in his racing rig broke. At the time it broke, he was in the lead and it forced him to pull over to make a change to a new driver. Fortunately, iRacing features an in-game function that allows you to have your car towed if you park on the gravel.
Verstappen managed to put his car in the right spot and get towed back, which then allowed Norris the chance to take over and hold onto Verstappen’s lead, winning by 27 seconds ahead of the second place, Patrick Heinrich from Pure Racing Team Green, after 622 laps.
While it is unusual to see two Formula One giants competing in esports, it’s not the first time they’ve actually done it. Both of them entered into the Bathurst 12H event in February, but neither were able to start racing as their team-mates crashed out earlier on in the race. They are both rather big supporters of the F1 esports scene and Norris believes that online skills can transfer to real-life racing.
“There’s a lot of people in the world who are very good drivers, more often nowadays you have drivers who can go from a simulator into a real car and show the skills correlate very well,” Norris said at a McLaren Shadow Project event.
He went on to mention Rudy van Buren, holder of the “World’s Fastest Gamer” title and second Redline team as a prime example of people who are masters of their craft. Van Buren, this time around however, had his run ended when teammate Ayhancan Guven crashed out at Blanchimont, the 17th corner of the circuit.
After the race, Verstappen said that it was a very cool collaboration and it’s great to see how these guys are doing it as well, him and Norris coming from the real world, and them on simulators. He also hopes to do it again soon.
Norris is actually no stranger to gaming and esports, and he was spotted by some gamers playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds with popular streamer and PUBG guru, Henrik ‘WackyJacky’ Kjærulff. WackyJacky is best known for his deep PUBG analysis, patch notes streams and general good humor in-game.
iRacing is one of the world’s leading racing simulation games that was released back in 2008. The esports following, while large, is not necessarily something that you’ll hear an awful lot about but there is a lot of stiff competition from some of the world’s best racers. The eSports World Championships for iRacing has a total cash prize pool of $100,000 and features players from all over the world, racing in many different types of races.