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A first at the 24 Hours of Le Mans virtual for the DUQUEINE Team / Prima ESports team


The weekend of the 15/16th January 2022, took place the second edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual. Organized by the ACO, these 24 Hours of Le Mans is a SimRace made possible thanks to the rFactor 2 software and various SimRacing partners such as Thrusmaster.

For the first time of its history, the DUQUEINE Team associated with the SimRacing Prima Esports team took part in a virtual race.

For this great first, DUQUEINE Team/Prima ESports were able to count on 4 experienced drivers, each in their field (Real Race or SimRacing). Gabriel Aubrey (FIA Pro Driver), Léo Boulay (FIA Pro Driver), Arnaud Lacombe (FIA Pro SimRacer) and Maxime Delpech (FIA Pro SimRacer) shared the wheel of Oreca 07 n°30.


The Alesian team was invited to take part in these 24 hours of Le Mans virtual from Studio Gabrielle in Paris. They shared the stage with teams from R8G, Pescarolo Sports and LM Cup Champions.


Friday during qualifying, a force feedback problem allowed Maxime Delpech and the Oreca n°30 to make only one attempt. They qualified in 26th position. As everyone knows, 24 hours of racing is a long time and anything can happen.


Saturday, 2 p.m., it was Léo Boulay who took the start of these 2nd 24 hours of Le Mans virtual . Starting 25th on the grid, Léo quickly moved up to 11th position but unfortunately an error demoted the Oreca n°30 out of the top 20. Once again, 24 hours of racing is a long time. And the team knew how to prove it. With their experience of the real 24 hours, the engineers of DUQUEINE Team were able to transcribe this experience to SimRacing. This allowed DUQUEINE Team/PrimaEsport to quickly return to the Top 20.


One of the highlights of this edition for the team is this magnificent battle with the LM Cup Champions team in the 4th lap. Léo Boulay, then at the wheel, battled with one of the legends of motorsport, Juan Pablo Montoya. And in the end, the DUQUEINE takes over.


During this race, Léo, Gabriel, Maxime and Arnaud took turns and each in turn fought magnificent battles. They have, each in turn, enabled the Oreca n°30 to gain positions and return to the Top 15 in the early morning.


The last hours of racing can be summed up in a few words. DUQUEINE Team/Prima Esports and its drivers battled with the Mahle crew for 12th place.


Sunday 16th January, 2:00 p.m., the Oreca n°30 passed the checkered flag in 12th position ahead of the Mahle, but a penalty made them lose a place.


A very good result for a first in SimRacing. The DUQUEINE/Prima Esport team is not done with SimRacing races.

 

Max Favard (Team Manager of DUQUEINE Team): "The fourth 24 Hours of Le Mans in the history of the team but a great first for the DUQUEINE team : our participation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans event virtual !

Thanks to the partnership with the PRiMA ESport team, we shared our real and virtual experiences to carry out a discovery race where the primary objective was to gain experience in terms of SimRacing, but also to do our best to do a good results.

After half-hearted qualifications due to a force feedback problem, we can only make one attempt!

Maxime (Delpech one of the 2 Pro Sim Racer) ranks 25th.


Saturday, Leo Boulay (one of the 2 Pro Fia Driver) takes the start of these 24 hours of Le Mans Virtual and quickly climbs to 11th avoiding all the pitfalls of the first lap! Some errors make us lose places. After a few hours, we are back in the top 20.

Gabriel Aubry and his experience of the real 24 hours allows us to optimize the conditions of the drivers for the second part of the race.


For his part, Arnaud Lacombe (the second Pro Sim Racer) who was unable to join us at the Gabrielle studio (CoVid cause), gave us exceptional relays which allowed us to reposition ourselves.

The last 8 hours the whole team gave the maximum on the fuel and tire strategy in order to extract the maximum from our Oreca 07 and thus to go up from 18th to 13th place!!


In conclusion, the staff is reduced but everyone's commitment is the same in order to hold on to the length of the race.

Thank you to the equipment manufacturer Thurstmaster for giving us the opportunity to participate in this second edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual, which will become over time, I hope, an essential classic in the motorsports and ESport landscape, thanks to the work of the ACO and Motorsport Games."

 

Gilles Duqueine : "Troubled! Very troubled even! Invited at the last moment by Gérard NEVEU to these 2nd 24h of Le Mans Virtual, Team DUQUEINE PRIMA was able in one week to set up a regulatory crew (2 Simracers and 2 drivers), plan sessions tests, work on the optimization of the setups and organize the trip of the whole Team to Paris (to the Studio Gabriel!!) to be ready this Friday for the qualifications!!!


And there, between the exceptional quality of the organization (+ than 100 people.) and the extreme performance of our drivers, I was really impressed and…. trouble ! I really did not expect such a level of performance and competition!


Our drivers, Gabriel Aubry, Léo Boulay as well as our Simracers, Arnaud Lacombe and Maxime Delpech, managed by Max and Antoine competed during all these 24 hours directly with the Pro teams : Max Verstapen, Juan Pablo Montoya, Franco Colapinto…. To finish in a very nice 13th place.


It's extremely different from the real races but the tension and the passion are there.

Max and I are very interested in continuing the adventure with Prima and Thrustmaster (Eric Mindjmba)…."

 

Gabriel Aubry (FIA Pro Driver) : “I really enjoyed this experience at the Pavillon Gabrielle with the DUQUEINE team / Prima ESport. E-sport is not my favorite field but everyone was really supportive and everyone brought their know-how, all in a short time. A 13th place at the end, and a lot of experience gained for everyone.“

 

Maxime Delpech (FIA Pro Sim Racer) : "For me, it's the high point of my Sim racer career and I'm really happy to have done it with my DUQUEINE/Prima team. I'm really happy with our 14-place climb thanks to teamwork and the group cohesion we had. And I hope to have the opportunity to participate in such competitions again."

 

Léo Boulay (FIA Pro Driver) : "For me, it's obviously the best Simracing experience of my life!

Knowing only 1 week before that we were going to participate in the 24 of Le Mans Virtual kept the excitement going until the weekend.

I couldn't have hoped for a better team, the work provided in such a short time was great, both the drivers and DUQUEINE thank you.

Arrived on the set the magic started to operate, we were immediately immersed in the race

With experienced drivers and a team that knows the 24 hours like the back of its hand, it was difficult to do better for the first 24 hours of Le Mans in my life.

Thank you for this experience. Thank you DUQUEINE and Prima Esports "

 

Arnaud Lacombe (FIA Pro Sim Racer) :

“These 24 Hours of Le Mans virtual have been a beautiful experience in many aspects.


But all was not so easy. We learned our participation so late that I only had 5 days of training, where the majority of the competing teams had been on the file for several months.

We had to learn everything because it was a first for the whole team on rFactor 2.


Getting to know the car and its settings, learning the track, learning the behavior and degradation of the tyres. All these things common to the real and virtual world which are essential to master to achieve good results.


The team did a great job. We were ready to embark on this exceptional event. Of course we would have been much better prepared with time, but we did everything possible in our time.


The racing experience of the DUQUEINE team has been extraordinarily valuable, particularly in terms of managing the race in real time. Max and Antoine were exemplary in the strategy to be rolled out.


As driver, we just had to race. It is a luxury to be led by people who know this environment inside out. It was really very immersive for me, all I was missing was the smell of fuel.


We concentrated on our race, we knew we lacked rhythm, due to our short preparation. We knew that if we stayed away from problems there would be opportunities to move up the rankings. That's what happened to some extent. Several favorites have been trapped.


We also made a few mistakes, in particular by abusing the track limits, but we were still in the race and more and more efficient over the stints.


From a personal point of view I am quite satisfied with my race, my pace was correct and my experiences of more than 20 years of simracing have been extremely useful to me in the management of tires, traffic and effort.


We can be proud of what we have accomplished. But there are many areas for improvement, I want to learn and understand our lack of pace compared to the winning car.


I am very proud to have participated in an event of this magnitude. I would like to thank DUQUEINE and Prima Esport very much for welcoming me. I also thank my teammates who were perfect, from the preparation to the end of the race. "


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