Taking a look at the Le Mans Esports Series

The Le Mans Esports Series allows esports stars and those at home to take part in the action and compete for victories on virtual race tracks in iconic Le Mans race cars.

The Le Mans Esports Series (LMES) runs in partnership between the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and Motorsport Network.

Now in Season 2, it provides stranded WEC fans a chance to witness and even get involved with some virtual on-track action, following the postponement of the 1000 Miles of Sebring and 6 Hours of Spa races.

The competition itself is run on the Forza Motorsport 7 racing game, as the series cooperates closely with Microsoft (played on Xbox or PC platforms only).

There are two types of races: sprint (lasting 20 minutes) and a feature/endurance (lasting 60 minutes).

They utilise elements and the mechanics of the Forza Motorsport 7 game such as its online platform and Rivals to stage the events.

Despite lacking the hardcore authenticity of a game like iRacing, the game illustrates detailed cars and tracks in a remarkable fashion as participants still use driving technique (on wheel/controller) to compete.

This enables wheel-to-wheel action integrated with strategic challenges to be viewed by many as it is broadcasted on Motorsport.TV and other social media like Youtube.

Image Credit: FIA WEC © Le Mans Esports Series

In typical endurance fashion, there are a mix of professional and amateur (of team and individual entrants) that race alongside two different calendars, meaning that anyone is at equal chance to participate through the pre-season qualifying.

The pro qualifying prize funds go as follows:

  • Pro Team Qualification Series – $50,000
  • Pro Team Super Final – $100,000
  • Pro-Am Super Final – $50,000

The racers fall into either of the following categories: Pro Teams, Pro Rivals (done through FM 7 Rivals – time trial-based competition), and Amateurs.

The participants are not only competing for outright victories, but also for the ultimate $200,000 prize money awarded at the end of the Super Final at Le Mans where the two categories merge to race multi-class.

Driving the #8 Toyota GAZOO Racing LMP1 car during the WEC SuperSeason (winning the drivers’ championship too), Fernando Alonso stated: “The Le Mans Esports Series will be very attractive.

“The platforms that you have out there are impressive,” the now two-time Le Mans winner said at the launch of LMES at the 6 Hours of Silverstone (Season 7).

Fernando Alonso (R) – Image Credit: FIA WEC © LMES

“I’m happy to be an owner of the (FA Racing Logitech G Esports) team, I’m very proud of what the guys are doing, and I think that you will have a huge success with this new adventure, a lot of people are behind it,” he told Motorsport.com.

“The possibilities that Esports has are unlimited. We have probably not reached the limit yet, we will keep discovering more that can offer that platform.

“We will enjoy it together.”

Le Mans Fan Zone and venue for the esports event – Image Credit: FIA WEC © Le Mans Esports Series

The 2020 Super-Final will take place right at the Circuit de la Sarthe, prior to the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

Only six teams in the Pro Teams Standings (led by Red Bull Racing Esports at 186 points) have qualified for the Super Final, but their efforts at the top can still be challenged at Round 5.

P2 finishes in both races at Round 4, Sebring – Image Credit: Red Bull Racing Esports

Other Pro teams include Ford’s official esports team ‘Fordzilla,’ who sit P9 out of 16 teams in the standings.

The participants at Circuit de la Sarthe will be treated to the race and the various activities that Le Mans offers, and will also have the opportunity to earn their place on the esteemed Le Mans podium.

At last year’s Super Final, Veloce Esports had made up for a 15-second deficit to win in the final race of the 24 Hour Super Final; the first day was a marathon of nine two-hour races, with more on the following day.

Veloce entered the series as a wildcard entry alongside SMP Racing, joining ten qualified teams to fight for title.

Veloce Esports on the Le Mans podium after winning the inaugural Le Mans Esports Series Super Final – Image Credit: Le Mans Esports Series via Twitter

Due to the recent COVID-19 circumstances, the schedule has been adjusted so that the Super Final will still take place at Circuit de la Sarthe, but in September instead of the original June dates.

For more details about the LMES, visit www.lemansesports.com.

Event Name Start Date End Date Place Car/Track
Rivals – Round 1 Nov 15 – 00:01 UTC Nov 24 – 23:59 UTC Rivals Porsche #2 Porsche Team 919 Hybrid @ Le Mans
Pro Teams – Round 1 Nov 30 – 19:00 UTC Nov 30 – 21:00 UTC Online Multiplayer Ferrari #51 AF Corse 458 Italia GTE @ Le Mans
Rivals – Round 2 Dec 13 – 00:01 UTC Dec 22 – 23:59 UTC Rivals Ferrari #51 AF Corse 458 Italia GTE @ Road Atlanta Full
Autosport AM Jan 09 – 09:00 UTC Jan 12 – 18:00 UTC Autosport International, Birmingham NEC Onsite at the 2020 Autosport International Show, Mazda #55 Mazda 787B @ Silverstone GP
Rivals – Round 3 Jan 10 – 00:01 UTC Jan 19 – 23:59 UTC Rivals Mazda #55 Mazda 787B @ Silverstone GP
Autosport Pro Teams Invitational Jan 11 – 14:00 UTC Jan 11 – 16:00 UTC Autosport International, Birmingham NEC 1966 Ford #2 GT40 Mk II Le Mans @ Classic Circuit de la Sarthe
Rivals – Round 4 Jan 31 – 00:01 UTC Feb 09 – 23:59 UTC Rivals Lancia #31 Lancia Corse Beta Montecarlo Turbo @ Nürburgring GP
Pro Teams – Round 2 Feb 01 – 19:00 UTC Feb 01 – 21:00 UTC Online Multiplayer Mazda #55 Mazda 787B @ Silverstone GP
Pro Teams – Round 3 Feb 29 – 19:00 UTC Feb 29 – 21:00 UTC Online Multiplayer Lancia #31 Lancia Corse Beta Montecarlo Turbo @ Circuit of the Americas
Rivals – Round 5 Mar 20 – 00:01 UTC Mar 29 – 23:59 UTC Rivals Ford #66 Ford Racing GT Le Mans @ Sebring
Pro Teams – Round 4 Mar 28 – 19:00 UTC Mar 28 – 21:00 UTC Online Multiplayer Ford #66 Ford Racing GT Le Mans @ Sebring
Rivals – Round 6 Apr 24 – 00:01 UTC May 03 – 23:59 UTC Rivals Porsche #92 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR @ Spa-Francorchamps
Pro Teams – Round 5 Apr 25 – 19:00 UTC Apr 25 – 21:00 UTC Online Multiplayer Porsche #92 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR @ Spa-Francorchamps
Super Final – All Teams Sep 18 – 12:00 UTC Sep 19 – 12:00 UTC Le Mans, France TBA