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Esports

Not his first rodeo: Shaun Arnold punches ticket to 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual

From console to sim rig, Arnold reflects on his journey in esports

From console to the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual, Team Fordzilla’s Shaun Arnold shares his journey in esports and the Le Mans Virtual Cup.

Using a controller while sim racing isn’t ideal.

It’s like driving an automatic Ferrari. Some cars are just meant to be controlled with the sweet, sweet grip of a stick shift. And honestly, the same can be said when comparing racing on console to hopping in a perfectly set sim rig with multiple monitors, a fancy PC and pedals. Yes, actual pedals used for accelerating and braking.

“I used to play on a controller,” laughed Shaun Arnold.

You probably recognize the name. Arnold’s been sim racing for the past eight years. He drives for Team Fordzilla. And he’s an absolute gem both on-and-off the virtual track.

Arnold’s presence is infectious. Like many of my driver interviews, we chatted about sim setups and his passion for motorsport over Zoom. His vibe is next level, actually. Maybe it’s his Welsh accent paired with a cheeky grin.

Shaun Arnold tops the Le Mans Virtual Cup earning him a spot in the 24 Hours of LMV

Sitting amongst his upgraded equipment—Next Level Racing cockpit, a Fanatec wheel, Heusinkveld sprints and triple monitor views—he’s confident, yet almost bashful when talking about his accomplishments.

The most recent was his string of victories in the Le Mans Virtual Cup, where Arnold finished first overall and earned a spot in the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual in January.

“Other than the car being a bit of a handful, it was good. For a change, it was plain sailing for me. I didn’t have any bad luck or anything, so I was quite happy,” he reflected on the series of races.

Aside from the final round, in which the Team Fordzilla driver joined his squad from their booth at the ADAC SimRacing Expo in Germany, Arnold finished on the podium in every single race.

Shaun Arnold at the Le Mans Esports Series in 2019 via Autosport.com

A huge feat, nonetheless; however, it’s not his first rodeo when it comes to participating in an endurance series named after the iconic Le Mans.

“The Le Mans Virtual Series used to be called something else (Le Mans Esports Series). So, I have experience racing in that series, just in a different format. It’s not really anything new to me, especially endurance racing. That’s where it started for me and that’s where my heart lies.

“I love a bit of endurance racing, especially in prototype cars and GT cars.”

The last time Arnold took part in the preceeding esports series, he competed on his Xbox with his trusty controller. And despite some technical issues, he still rallied for big wins throughout the LMES, earning him a spot in the Le Mans Super Final.

The Welsh sim racer reflects on the 2022 Le Mans Virtual Cup and says the races are much fiercer.

“There’s a lot more teams involved, a lot more competitive drivers. Back then, it was the same sort of format as the Cup, and then you had the final. So, you had to qualify…it was five or six rounds, and I think I won four of the six with two podiums.

“When you get into the actual Le Mans Virtual Series, the 24 Hours finals, you’ve got big teams like Redline, BS+Competition, R8G, Williams, you know. Every team is capable of good results.”

Arnold’s hyped to share a car with Zoltán Várkonyi, who kept him on his toes during the Cup series. They’ll be joined by two pro drivers (stay tuned for the announcement) and will compete against a grid filled with the best in professional racing, both sim and real-world.

A line-up which includes his current group, Team Fordzilla, too.

Arnold posing with Team Fordzilla

“I’ve been watching [the LMVS throughout the season] and supporting them, as well. I can see how strong some of the field is, but I’ve also raced against a lot of the drivers that are in the series and it’s nice to gauge where I am against them.

“I have beaten a few of them in the past, so there’s nothing to show why I can’t have a decent result in the final,” Arnold flashed that cheeky smile.

It all comes down to the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual, happening from 14th January to 15th January at Circuit de la Sarthe. Keep it pinned on the Traxion.GG YouTube channel for the full race and more!

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