The 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual was somewhat marred in the first quarter with two red flag stoppages.
However, unlike the unrelated car disconnects later in the race, the early challenges were due to what was dubbed a ‘security threat’.
Now, the race is complete, more details have emerged from the Le Mans Virtual Series organisation, confirming what was widely shared across social media platforms.
“It became clear within the first seven hours of the race that we had some serious server issues which led to us showing the red flag on the race twice,” said Gérard Neveu, Executive Producer of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual in a post-event media alert.
“After an initial investigation, it seems that some race competitors accidentally shared to the public the IP addresses connecting them to the server, which is not supposed to happen.”
Every entrant, driver or team, who was competing in the virtual motorsport event was able to live stream their own perspectives, alongside the main TV, OTT and YouTube broadcast.
It is believed that the information was shared unwittingly, before being capped and shared around Discord servers and social media platforms.
“This put us in a weakened position, and we were subjected to some security breaches which caused the global disconnection of all competitors, “ continued Neveu.
“It should never happen if the IP addresses are well protected.”
During the red flag stoppages, the issues were identified and resolved, before racing continued unabridged for the remainder of the event. In the early hours of Sunday morning, however, several entrants did disconnect, although that is not thought to have been related to the IP access issue.
“These problems apart we think that when we look back at the 2023 edition, we can have a certain satisfaction about what we have achieved in terms of bringing together this amazing field of competitors and top teams, and with the broadcast that came live from Le Mans Virtual Series’ studio at Silverstone in the UK to TV and digital channels across the world,” continued Neveu.
“You know, the 24 Hours of Le Mans always delivers drama and passionate emotions, and this is the same in the virtual version, with some competitors ending up happy and some sad.
“As well as our Team Redline and R8G Esports race winners, we of course have crowned our series’ champions Porsche Coanda and BMW Team Redline.
“37 cars took the chequered flag and the race itself was really intense and competitive, delivering worthy winners and champions.
The aforementioned early morning disconnection of several cars, including that of Max Verstappen, is being treated as a separate case.
“We have asked the rFactor2 platform to launch a full investigation to find out where these problems are coming from and of course, we will look at our processes and guidelines to try and reduce the chance of similar issues taking place in 2024,” said Neveu. To that end, developer Studio 397, owned by Motorsport games, has also issued a separate statement.
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