When the action starts at Le Mans, France, this weekend, eight teams will also make a start at Canal Walk Shopping Centre, Cape Town, for the sixth annual CAR/Liqui Moly Virtual Le Mans Challenge.
Teams of three get the call to qualify every year around mid-May. And because of the transition from Polyphony Digital’s Gran Turismo 4 to the long-awaited GT5, as well as the PS3’s fantastic processing power and high-definition output, the racing’s become a lot more realistic (as realistic as a sim can get for now) and downright competitive.
This year, there’s an extra element of realism thanks to the use of gaming hardware giant Logitech’s range-topping G27 steering wheel and pedal set – which should provide feedback and resistance even closer to the real Le Mans Prototypes.
The entry list for the 2012 edition of Virtual Le Mans features some of the usual suspects as well as dark horses. First up are two-time and defending champions M-Technique. Comprised of Iftikar Dalvie, Nasief Dalvie and Ashraf Enus, the team came out of nowhere to win the 2009 instalment, aptly using a steed produced by BMW – a V12 LMR. In 2010, M-Technique inexplicably choked and finished dead last, but responded by recapturing the Virtual Le Mans floating trophy last year.
Next is Obox, winners in 2010. David Perel, Marc Perel and Werner Lotter were hot off the mark in 2010, and never looked backed to finish in dominant fashion. Last year, they were engaged in battle with M-Technique for most of the 24 hours, and only just lost out on the title.
Legendary GT Worx, winners of the inaugural event and also the first to successfully defend the title in 2008 have since been dissolved… But Ian Kolbe and Junaid Allie are making a return this year – as team CAR no less. Other stalwarts include Ernest Page and of 24hr Team 426, and Nezaam Cariem of GT Team Velocity.
For the first time, two out-of-town teams have also been accommodated and have immediately made an impact, taking the first two qualifying spots…
The eight teams competing this weekend are:
1. Team Ryoku Racing
2. Team Vitriolic Racing
3. 24 hr Team 426
6. GT Team Velocity
7. M-Technique Junior
8. CAR Magazine
The event will take place in the Canal Walk shopping centre, kicking off at 15:00 on Saturday, 16 June and continue for 24 hours. Each member of the winning team will get a Big Boy Revival 150 scooter – valued at R8 950,00 each. Plus the winners will also receive full face helmets, gloves and a jacket from Big Boy Scooters. There are also other cool prizes up for grabs. Come support the racers!