The first official Virtual 24 Hours of Spa gets underway later today, with 33 of the world’s best esports squads racing for victory.
It’s the third race in the Endurance Series for the 2021 GT World Challenge Europe Esports Championship, and there’s a tie at the top of the table. The Ferrari Driver Academy team took the win at Monza ahead of the lead VRS Coanda squad, and the roles were reversed in the second round at Circuit Paul Ricard.
Both teams are among the favorites for the Spa race as a result. The Ferrari team of David Tonizza and Giovanni di Salvo is joined by the FDA analyst Amos Laurito in the 488 for the 24 hour race, while VRS Coanda will field a four-man squad in the #18 Porsche — the winning team of Joshua Rogers, Paschalis Gkergkis, and Tommy Ostgaard supplemented by Mack Bakkum.
There’s plenty of big names throughout the field too. Williams, driving the #1 Aston Martin, will give driving duties to Tariq Gamil, Jack Keithley, Martin Stefanko, and Nikodem Wisniewski, while James Baldwin will be driving his own real-world McLaren 720S for Team Rocket RJN, alongside Luka Berk and Jack McIntyre.
Other cars well worth keeping an eye on for the overall win include the #62 BMW, driven by Nils Naujoks — the 2020 Lamborghini Real Race champion — along with Arthur Kammerer and Gregor Schill. A second VRS Coanda Porsche, the #88 car, has Jeremy Bouteloup, Charlie Collins, Martin Kroenke, and real-life 911 racer Ayhancan Guven driving.
The #96 Aston Martin boasts the GT World Challenge America leader Michael Kundakcioglu and Philippe Simard who won the sprint race at this track in the American series two weeks back. Andre Franke and Killian Ryan-Meenan — who took a podium spot in that same race — make up the four-man team.
If it’s anything like the real event last weekend, which saw 2014 GT Academy International winner Ricardo Sanchez as part of the winning Madpanda Motorsports team, it’s sure to be an entertaining event — though hopefully with slightly fewer accidents.
The race starts at 1310 UTC on Saturday August 7, and runs through to the same time on Sunday August 8. You can catch it all live on the streams below: