While the Dakar finish was being celebrated in Saudi Arabia, the road racers were preparing for the new season on simulators – in the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans at rFactor 2. Good news for Russia: our driver Alexander Smolyar (former Formula 1 driver) won the GTE class . -3″).
But the whole show, along with honoring the winners in all classes, was stolen by the two-time world champion Max Verstappen .
His crew was in the lead 7 hours before the finish, but then Max had problems communicating with the server. When he returned, he found himself 17th, 1.5 laps behind – and the organizers did not return his time. After another 1.5 hours, the problem recurred – Max fell into a rage and started smashing the organizers in text and voice chats, promising never to participate again:
“They (the organizers) called it a colossal bad luck. I consider it complete incompetence. They can’t even control what happens in their own game! This is the third time I’ve been kicked out of the game like this during this race. So that was the last time I’m actually involved in this. Because what’s the point of it anyway?
You prepare for five months, you try to win the championship, you lead the championship, you try to win the race for which you prepared separately for two months, and then the organizers act like this!
Two red flags. DDoS attacks on the server are blamed. They canceled the rain (one of the restarts after the red flag was dry instead of rain at the time the race was stopped), this is already too much influence. Disconnects other people too. And they can’t handle it. Oh, even more people disconnect!
It is better to rent a car than to drive on the 15th for six hours. It humiliates all the efforts we made as a team.
I hope the organizers somehow think about where they will move the race in the future, because on this platform it will not work. The game is over. I’m sorry guys. Yes, even in a casino there are more chances to win.
This is some kind of joke. I can’t call it a competition… Just a clown show!
Oh, looks like I uninstalled the game. Excellent. More free space on your computer. I hope everyone will follow my lead and remove it.“
In the LMP class, as a result, the second crew of Max’s team Team Redline No. 2 won, but this did not stop the champion – he repeated the same thing in writing after the finish in the chat after the race:
“I will no longer participate because of your incompetence. I hope many people will follow my lead and we can build something better, something different. All teams, brands, people deserve it.”
The reaction of the commentators: “he ran away due to an outburst of anger”:
And this is with real disruptions to the race with red flags due to “Potential hacks on both servers.“
And it seems that the organizers hinted that “one of the participants” was to blame:
“After a preliminary investigation, there are grounds to state that one of the participants accidentally opened IP addresses to the public when connecting to the server,” the press service of the executive producer of the cyber race, Gerard Neve, quotes.
And the redditors immediately found out that the addresses were not hidden at all . So, most likely, the “DDOS attack” was just a large influx of people who wanted to connect as spectators – probably a predictable indirect effect of the participation of the two-time Formula 1 champion and other professional pilots, right?
However, the commentators of the marathon were very offended by Max – for example, “the voice of the virtual world championship in endurance racing” Ben Costanduros:
“If this is clowning, then me and my friends who put in so much effort are clowns,” he replied on Twitter . “I usually feel tired after a 24 hour race, but this time we saw the toxic side of esports and social media.
Yes, it didn’t work out the way Max wanted. He was unlucky with connection problems, but he wasn’t the only one… And if a person with such influence spreads such strong language and creates a negative atmosphere in our community, then such behavior cannot be called wise. It only harms the world of virtual racing in general.
The founder of R8G (the winning team in the GTE class, Smolyar plays for it) Romain Grosjean generally tried to find a racing analogy to communication breaks – also trying to protect the organizers:
“If in real life you have a broken engine or a mechanical failure, isn’t it the same thing? – the former F-1 pilot tweeted . – Virtual races are highly competitive. It’s great when we see one of the most popular races in the world in the virtual. I agree that certain points need to be improved, but the same can be said about any other area.”
But he was rightly objected by another racer Brad Philpot, also a participant in virtual races:
“If your computer breaks down, it can still be compared to a motor failure. But when the connection is lost, it is already comparable to the problems of the race directorate. It’s like there’s a switch built into every car that goes off randomly.“
Max really seriously prepared for several months: he started back in November before the previous virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans . Yes, the race has been held several times a year since 2020, it has become the main racing event of the online world, Max has not yet won it and really wanted to fix it – that’s why he talked about 5 months of preparation. Indeed, Verstappen constantly has difficulties with Le Mans: last November he crashed into Smolyar when he was in the lead, and a year ago he also drove everyone for a minute – and got into the barrier.
Verstappen drove a minute to everyone at the main virtual race of the planet – and crashed the car. Jumped on the curb while overtaking a roundabout
Between the last two Le Mans, the two-time champion gave a long interview to the Washington Post – in which he emphasized the importance of this particular race : “I really don’t have so much free time anymore to compete in all virtual races, but this one is too important. I love endurance racing in general, I love this track, it’s a great challenge. There are a lot of good teams involved, that’s why I really like it.
I am very ashamed in front of my partners for the accident last year – an optional error came out. And we could win the title. Therefore, this year I want to have a strong race – we all invested in it, time to bring results. We approach everything like a real real race. People don’t understand sometimes, but we spend weeks preparing and setting up cars for different weather and temperature options.”
“For the fourth time in a row, we are divided when we are in the lead,” said team director Atze Kerhof . – Once – because of the error of our racer, all the others – because of problems with the servers.
This is unacceptable. It’s disrespectful.
Max only races for competition, not for money. He spends a lot of free time helping the team, promoting the race. He is a two-time F1 champion and so involved.
He was disconnected milliseconds after another rider disconnected, so we know it wasn’t a problem with his personal computer.
It wasn’t just us who suffered, we just spoke the loudest. This cannot continue.
The prize fund is 250 thousand euros. Our riders will survive their loss, but others suffering from a lack of money may be seriously affected. Such a prize pool should come along with sufficient professionalism. Do not forget that serious fees for performances are taken from each car.
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