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Le Mans Virtual Series: Team Redline, R8G Esports score 4 Hours of Monza class wins

The second leg of the 2022-23 Le Mans Virtual Series witnessed changeable conditions in a virtual Italy. From a dry to wet track, and then back again, it was anyone’s guess as to who would stand victorious in either the LMP or GTE classes until the final moments.

Le Mans Virtual Series: Team Redline, R8G Esports score class wins in wet 4 Hours of Monza

Incident-filled first hour

Things started off with a pair of nearly identical-looking incidents in the opening corner for both classes.

The #21 SEM9 Axle LMP of Naquib Azlan was tagged as things spread out. The Malaysian driver clipped the grass and wound up bowling into the #8 R8G Esports LMP of Marcell Csincsik.

Moments later, the opening-round winning #99 Red Bull Racing Porsche of Alex Siebel was also clipped, spinning and striking the #11 Project 1 by Dörr Esports Porsche driven by Leonard Krippner. Both wound up in the pits for damage repair, losing laps in the process.

Le Mans Virtual Series: Team Redline, R8G Esports score class wins in wet 4 Hours of Monza

In the opening stint, Porsche Coanda driver Joshua Rogers trailed team-mate Mitchell deJong, but things would swap after the first pitstop. Both cars pitted at the same time and because the #23 of Rogers was ahead of deJong, the Australian had the better exit, taking the lead in the cycle.

The first hour witnessed a slew of crashes, including a big one in Curva Alboreto involving a handful of LMP drivers. The #966 Team Fordzilla entry of Luke Browning attempted a move on the #28 YAS Heat Veloce entry, but the two made contact and calamity ensued.

Csincsik, the #100 Arnage Competition LMP with Adam Pinczes in control and more were also involved. All cars continued, but Browning received a pitlane penalty, while the others lost a lap repairing the damage.

Meanwhile, in GTE, the #51 SF Velas Esports Team Ferrari driven by Christian Michel took the lead at the start over pole position-starting Timotej Andonovski in the #888 R8G Esports Ferrari.

Romain Grosjean’s eponymous squad took control back 16 minutes in, but the #77 Proton Coanda Porsche and the #95 Prodrive FYRA Esport Aston Martin were both in contention.

Things get wet in the second hour

During the second round of pitstops, the #2 Redline entry did not swap drivers. As a result, Diogo Pinto was able to take the lead, the reigning Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup champion ahead of the #23.

It began to lightly rain after the one-and-a-half-hour mark, just before both the LMP and GTE pit cycles were about to begin. The track was declared wet by the race stewards with two hours and 23 minutes to go, wet tyres were now on the table.

However, a full course yellow would shake things up even further. The #18 R8G Esports LMP of Christopher Högfeldt turned himself off of the nose of a slower GTE.

Some teams opted to pit, including the #36 Alpine Esports LMP of Rory MacDuff, plus the majority of the GTE class.

Things would get even more jumbled as the Code 60 lifted before others could pit. The Porsche Coanda duo would stop immediately while early title protagonists of the #1 Redline and #4 Floyd Vanwall-Burst opted to stay out for a few more laps.

The #63 AMG Team Petronas Esports entry was the first to bite for wet rubber, with many more opting to at the end of the hour.

Wet tyres vs slick tyres in the third hour

As the rain continued there were still a few stragglers on slick tyres, including the pole-sitting #20 Porsche Coanda LMP.

The #63, driven by Graham Carroll, briefly led thanks to its early stop for grooved tyres. However, Redline snatched the lead on lap 78, with Luke Bennett immediately increasing the gap over the rest of the field.

Meanwhile, in the GTE class, Andonovski in the #888 had a comfortable lead over Paschalis Gkergkis who had taken control of the #77 Proton Coanda Porsche.

A second full course yellow was then enacted due to an incident involving the #86 GR Vector Esport LMP, slowly driving back to the pitlane with a technical issue.

This would reset the field on pitstops, as most teams opted to take advantage of the reduced speeds. The race restarted with just under 75 minutes to go with the #1 machine still out front, free pit stop in the pocket, and the #20 Coanda entry now in second after staying out.

Strategies realised in final hour

As the circuit dried, Martin Krönke in the #23 Porsche Coanda LMP looked to have snookered the field, opting for the slicks during the full course yellow, pole-vaulting into the lead once everyone has swapped tyres. 

With 45 minutes to go, the chase was on for Jeffrey Rietveld in the #1 to try and catch up to Krönke. The gap was closed to about two seconds before the Porsche-backed entry pitted for the final time.

Rietveld stayed out as long as he could, finally pitting on the 123rd lap with just under 27 minutes remaining. The overcut provided a 14-second advantage which remained until the end of the race, the #53 also rising to second, with Porsche Coanda in third.

For the battle in GTE, the #888 wound up being overcut by the #77 once all pitstops had been completed. It was up to Formula Challenge Series front-runner Risto Kappet to hunt down Dayne Warren.

However, with just 10 minutes to go in the race, the Porsche was handed a penalty for not respecting the prior full course yellow, handing the lead back to the R8G Esports Ferrari.

Despite this, it wouldn’t be an easy win for Kappet, as the #95 Prodrive FYRA Esport Aston Martin with Lasse Sørensen in the seat was right on his heels until the chequered flag.

“It was an endurance,” said Kappet, driver of the winning #888 R8G Esports Ferrari 488 GTE alongside Andonovski and Formula 3 race-inner Smolyar.

“It was so crazy, there were so many smaller races inside this race, it was intense.”

“It was a very difficult race,” said Rietveld, driver of the overall winning #1Team Redline LMP with Bennett and Benecke.

“Switching from the dry, to the rain, and then back to the dry, that was very difficult circumstances, but I think we nailed the strategy and that gave us the win today.”

The #4 Floyd Vanwall-Burst LMP leads the points standings, after finishing fourth, by just two points over the race-winning Redline crew after two races, while the #99 Oracle Red Bull Racing Porsche GTE still leads GTE, 5.5 points over the #71 BMW Team Redline.

Next up for the series will be the 6 Hours of Spa, 5th November 2022.

Le Mans Virtual Series, 4 HOURS OF MONZA LMP result

POSCAR #TEAMDRIVERSINTERVAL
11Team RedlineLuke Bennett, Jeffrey Rietveld, Maximilian Benecke140 LAPS
253AMG Team Williams EsportsMichael Romanidis, Nikodem Wisniewski, Jakub Brzezinski+15.612 secs
323Porsche CoandaJoshua Rogers, Mack Bakkum, Martin Krönke+18.709 secs
44Floyd Vanwall-BurstTom Dillmann, Jernej Simončič, Jesper N. Pedersen+42.588 secs
520Porsche CoandaAyhancan Güven, Tommy Østgaard, Mitchell deJong+42.781 secs

Le Mans Virtual Series, 4 HOURS OF MONZA GTE result

POSCAR #TEAMCAR (GTE)DRIVERSINTERVAL
1888R8G ESPORTSFerrari 488Alexander Smolyar, Timotej Andonovski, Risto Kappet128 LAPS
295Prodrive FYRA EsportAston Martin VantageLasse Sørensen, Lasse Bak, Mikkel Gade+0.956 secs
377Proton Coanda EsportsPorsche 911 RSRDayne Warren, Charlie Collins, Paschalis Gkergkis+18.445 secs
426SIM MaranelloFerrari 488Lorenzo Arisi, Christian Malghera, Andrea Terzi+31.700 secs
571BMW Team RedlineBMW M8Chris Lulham, Kevin Siggy, Enzo Bonito+1 LAP

Full race results.

LMP CLASS STANDINGS AFTER RACE #2 – 4 HOURS OF MONZA

POSCAR #TEAMPOINTS
14Floyd Vanwall-Burst50
21Team Redline48
320Porsche Coanda28
48R8G ESPORTS27.5
553AMG Team Williams Esports27

GTE CLASS STANDINGS AFTER RACE #2 – 4 HOURS OF MONZA

POSCAR #TEAMPOINTS
199Oracle Red Bull Racing38.5
271BMW Team Redline33
351SF Velas Esports Team31
466SIMMSA Esports26
5888R8G ESPORTS26

Full disclosure – Traxion.GG is part of Motorsport Games and the Motorsport Games family of brands. All Traxion.GG content is editorially removed from Motorsport Games video game development and created by a dedicated team. Traxion.GG is one of the official media partners of the Le Mans Virtual Series.

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