Team Peugeot TotalEnergies, virtually at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
The French manufacturer will be represented by professional drivers Gustavo Menezes and Malthe Jakobsen, and sim racing specialists Valentin Mandernach and Maxime Brient. Guided by R8G, an experienced team in the virtual realm, they share their preparation and ambitions only a few days out from the race.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans track unfolding ahead, G. Menezes, M. Jakobsen, V. Mandernach and M. Brient relay behind the wheel of their simulator. The two drivers and two sim racers prepare themselves for the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual.
“There are similarities between the two disciplines like there are some differences. The simulator specialists will work on the set up as the professional drivers do not know all the subtilties in simulation. One thing is certain, they are all here to perform, not to play games. Our goal is for the sim racers and pro drivers to make the most out of their experiences” explains a member of the R8G team, accompanying Peugeot Esports for the event.
Team Peugeot TotalEnergies driver, Gustavo Menezes confirms “The rise of sim racing over the past couple of years and the quality of the simulations. It gives everyone the opportunity to race on the worlds most famous circuits and feel the adrenaline of competition. Evidently there are some differences between the real and virtual worlds. I have to learn from my sim racing teammates how to be as fast as possible, the limits can be different. What I do know, there is no room for error or crashing in the virtual world either.”
Malthe Jakobsen, professional driver and Team Peugeot TotalEnergies Rookie Test driver last November will experience sim racing on the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual for the first time. “During COVID we saw how the discipline evolved. It is a different exercise from real racing, but I am ready to give my best and avoid accidents or mistakes. Pro driver and sim racer, it’s a concept I like. I hope now we can do a good result.”
Valentin Mandernach, 16 years old and young sim racing talent gives a word of advice: “It’s a long race, 24 hours. It is important to stay calm and concentrated, day and night, anticipate the traffic, which I am sure Gustavo and Malthe will manage well. I am proud to represent Team Peugeot TotalEnergies and hop to see us in the top 10.”
Maxime Brient, an avid sim racer, who has already participated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual explains the particularities of sim racing: “In a real race you can have engine issues, in sim racing you can run into software, steering or traffic issues. The goal is to be consistent and hold a strong rhythm. Practice makes perfect, after some good tests I think we can aim a top 10 finish.”
Following an internal selection launched within the Stellantis Europe network, the foursome is completed by a fifth, Kevin Lacour, performance engineer of the #93 PEUGEOT 9X8 of the WEC programme. His performance in the simulator stood out with times close to the professional drivers’ meaning he will evolve alongside the best sim racers at the heart of the Peugeot Esports team.
In charge of optimising the on track performance of the PEUGEOT 9X8, Kevin Lacour is impatient to uncover the virtual race. “I am very happy and, to be honest, quite surprised to have won the contest! I have been playing Esports for a couple years and am excited to meet and play alongside the real pros. There is surely a lot I can learn from them.”