Ahead of the opening 2022-23 Le Mans Virtual Series race, we speak to the works-backed Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team to see why its entry is such a big deal.
Just like a father waiting for his kids to join him for dinner, Philip Stamm sat patiently in a grey chair with wooden armrests for two of Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team’s drivers to accompany him for our interview.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been lucky enough to interview the Team Principal.
Back in February, then Coanda Simsport won the 2021 Autosport Esports Team of the Year Award. Stamm and driver Mitchell deJong met with me on Zoom to discuss the incredible feat. Looking back, that moment was merely a stepping stone to something even bigger on the horizon for the German esports company.
At the time, Porsche had chosen Coanda Esports to represent their brand in the 2021-22 Le Mans Virtual Series, which Stamm called a “huge honour.” Not even one year later, the team has recoded the race to become Porsche Coanda Esports and will debut their fresh look with two LMP2 cars at this year’s LMVS.
An achievement Stamm doesn’t take lightly.
“I think it’s a very good accomplishment for the whole world of sim racing to have someone transitioning from the real racing world, like Porsche, into the sim world. It also shows the professional state we’ve reached by now in sim racing and in general.
“The partnership with Porsche is for us, I mean, a thing that we were dreaming of for a long time. We were working hard basically since we founded Coanda. And yeah, sometimes hard work pays off.”
That hard work includes onboarding a roster of some of the world’s best racing esports drivers, including Tommy Østgaard and Mack Bakkum, whose smiles beamed with pride as their team principal talked about Porsche.
“It’s pretty special. I’ve always been a fan of Porsche and it’s the third year now that we can represent Porsche in the Virtual Le Mans Series, but now in 2022 as the official factory team,” said Østgaard, the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual winner. “They have a great history in motorsport and of winning. So, that’s a big responsibility.”
Bakkum, the runner-up at 2022 24 Hour of LMV, nodded in agreement.
“It’s such a global, extremely recognizable brand for everyone. When you see Porsche, everyone kind of knows what you’re talking about. So, to be able to represent something like that, I think that’s really cool.
“It really kind of transfers over to different parts of…your social life, where people can see, ‘Okay, Porsche’s involved with this,’ – this is a bit more serious.”
Both drivers essentially live together near the brand-new Coanda Esports hub in Germany, alongside a few of their team-mates, as well. In a time where most drivers log in from their own sim rigs at home, wherever that may be in the world, the Porsche Coanda squad has created their own version of home together.
“It’s way better for team spirit, team building, you know? You’re constantly working together. It’s way easier working with someone when you’re talking to them when you have an actual face to talk to in front of you, or right next to you when you’re sitting in your rig,” Bakkum reflected.
The team truly stands by their motto: RECODE THE RACE, a statement that Stamm says keeps them focused on staying ahead of the game by being one step ahead of the competition, too.
And for anyone paying attention to the details, the two cars racing in the 24 Hour of Le Mans Virtual are cleverly numbered 20 and 23, which just so happens to be the year Porsche Motorsport re-joins the top class in the real-world event.
Not only is Porsche recoding the race, but by partnering with Coanda, the iconic motorsport brand is also recoding the history of their company. The sky’s the limit in esports and Porsche’s commitment to the online world of racing is a testament to the future of sim racing.
“I think we have a very good advantage, especially when it comes to the normal line-up with Ayhancan [Güven] and Laurin [Heinrich]…you always have to pinch yourself because those guys grew up in the sim racing world and made actually a career in the real racing world,” said Stamm.
“But they would also make their career in sim racing. So, that makes it very easy for us to work with them. It’s basically just one big group and there’s no difference between those guys that are driving the car.”
Porsche Coanda Esports will be sporting its RECODE THE RACE livery in the Le Mans Virtual Series this year, which kicks off Friday 16th September with qualifying.
Saturday 17th September marks the first race of the series: 8 Hours of Bahrain. Be sure to catch all the action on the Traxion.GG YouTube channel!
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.