It’s no surprise that the boom in esports continues to shape the landscape of competition when it comes to sim racing. Teams have sprouted all around the world with the hopes of showcasing their driver talent and maybe even taking home some shiny hardware in the form of an esports championship.
One of those blossoming teams is Dörr Esports: a brand-new group of sim racers who will represent Project 1’s GTE car #11 in the Le Mans Virtual Series this coming season.
Project 1 itself knows the ropes when it comes to the real-world FIA World Endurance Championship and has competed with a different partner team at past Le Mans Virtual competitions. Meanwhile Dörr has won virtual championships within its first year of existence. So, in a way, championship potential is in their blood.
Like many motorsport teams, Dörr Esports was formed during the pandemic at a time when real-life racing hit the pause button, as an offshoot of a German supercar dealership group and motorsport team. There was just something about sim racing, though.
“Dörr Group was very keen on having an esports team,” said driver and manager Mortiz Löhner.
“They were like, ‘If we do an esports team, it has to be the best. We want to have the best drivers. We want to win championships.”
Fittingly, Löhner was approached to not only drive for Dörr Esports, but also oversee it. His expertise in prior RaceRoom Racing Experience championships had a bit to do with the decision. However, his ability to hand-pick an incredible group of drivers was absolutely the cherry on top.
“I obviously knew who was very suitable for it. So, I picked very good guys.”
These good guys include Bence Bánki and Leonard Krippner. Although the driver lineup is not confirmed for the Le Mans Virtual Series yet, these are the two drivers who led Dörr to a 2022 ADAC GT Masters Esports Teams’ Championship win.
Marc Gassner is also on the team, having previously won the 2014 German edition of GT Academy.
“From the very first day, we were a name to reckon with,” Löhner smiled. “And that was very nice.”
That’s something he says the team hopes to maintain while competing in the LMVS.
“In my opinion, it’s one of the best esports sim racing championships we have out there with the best drivers across all the sims,” enthused Löhner.
“The best drivers from iRacing, the best riders from RaceRoom, the best drivers from Assetto Corsa Competizione and the best drivers from rFactor 2 in one championship together is a very unique experience.
“But also you know it’s one of the hardest championships and one of the highest championships out there. And that’s why as a competitive driver, you obviously want to compete there.
“Also, representing a really high profile team like Project 1 who’s competing in the WEC is a big honour to us. They approached us looking for a team that can fight for the top. Already for us, that’s huge.”
Löhner, who sim races out of Germany and balances the full-time managing gig for Dörr Esports with real-world competition in the DTM Trophy, emphasizes that the team will need to prepare by getting their reps in. Like anything in life, practice truly makes perfect.
“Luckily, we have one driver who every once and a while drives the sim and knows the basics, knows what to do with the driver change, with the setup and everything. So that’s a huge help for us.
“It’s mostly learning the ropes.”
Since the crew is new to rFactor 2 platform the competition uses, pace will likely be the biggest challenge. And while some drivers have success in other championships already, this team’s goal is to fight for a top-four position throughout the series, something Löhner believes is possible this year.
Mind you, he also acknowledges that anything is possible…
“In multiclass racing and endurance racing, a lot can happen.”
The three-time ADAC GT Masters Esports and 2020 DTM Esports champion said that having a connection to the real-life team and access to the racing track plays a role in their online success. Yet, their drive to win comes from an even stronger bond.
“The team is really perfect because we all are friends on-and-off the track. And it’s just a pleasure every day to work with them.”
Hats off to the Project 1 by Dörr Esports team as they compete in their first-ever Le Mans Virtual Series, kicking off on 17th September 2022. And check out the other 39 teams participating this season, too!
Images: Dörr Esports and Moritz Löhner