From the latest report undertaken by YouGov Sport, the five-round Le Mans Virtual Series, which ran from September 2022 through to January 2023, recorded growth in TV and digital audience figures in almost every area.
The virtual racing series took place over five months on extremely detailed and realistic representations of iconic and well-known circuits in Bahrain, Monza, Spa and Sebring, with the finale to the season being held at the iconic Circuit des 24 Heures in Le Mans, France.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual on 14/15th January brought together 45 LMP and GTE cars with 180 drivers from 41 different countries. Teams battled it out for a $250,000 series prize pool across the five rounds, with the competitors racing on 164 simulators worldwide – representing manufacturers such as Alpine, BMW, Ferrari, Mercedes, Peugeot and Porsche.
Despite a number of serious technical issues during the 24-hour event – which have been fully investigated and addressed, 37 of the competitors took the chequered flag in a dramatic and passion-filled event. No other major technical issues were experienced throughout the other four rounds within the closely-fought season.
An impressive, cumulative, audience reach of over 8.5 million via TV, OTT and digital audiences was recorded for the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual in a recent report by YouGov Sport. The worldwide viewership enjoyed a slick and commanding broadcast across each round, with the season finale played out on a 25-hour TV special seen in 68 broadcast markets across four continents on channels such as Eurosport, CNBC, Fox/Disney and Motor Trend. After incredible battles up and down the field between the world’s best professional and sim racing drivers representing elite esports teams, the Le Mans Virtual Championships were won by Porsche Coanda (LMP) and BMW Team Redline (GTE).
Some key facts and figures from the Le Mans Virtual Series season:
- 558 hours of content was consumed by the #LeMansVirtual audience
- 36 million social media impressions (Source: FIA WEC, ACO, LMVS and Traxion), +19% year on year
- 10 million video views (Source: FIA WEC, ACO and Traxion GG), +43% year on year
- 5 million total broadcast audience reach (linear TV/digital streaming (source: YouGov Sport) for 24H Virtual alone
- Reigning F1 World Champion plus FIA F2 and F3 Champions took to the grid for the 24-hour event
- Up to 227 drivers from 41 different nations – a greater representation than ever this season
- 40 full season entries split in two classes (29 LMP and 21 GTE) with +5 cars for 24H Virtual
- Up to 164 simulators used in 38 different countries across the world (41% more)
- 356 laps completed by the winner, #2 Team Redline ORECA 07 LMP2 (Drugovich/Rosenqvist/Bennett/Lulham)
- 365,033 kilometres of racing over the five rounds, with technical difficulties only being encountered at the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual
- 36,951 overtakes, making for compelling viewing
- 2,226 total pitstops, as teams crunched the numbers and implemented strategies
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, which is a partner in the Le Mans Virtual Series commented: “It is very encouraging to see that the Le Mans Virtual Series season was an overall success, despite some technical problems encountered in the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual. We are delighted to see the popularity of endurance sim racing continuing to increase year on year, and we all look forward to the launch of the official Le Mans Esports game at the end of this very special centenary year.”
Gérard Neveu, Executive Producer of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual: “On behalf of all of us at Le Mans Virtual Series, we want to sincerely thank all our competitors and teams who made this possible, our partners for their ongoing, loyal support, and the millions of fans who followed our events and who brought the social media sites alive with their comments of support, enthusiasm and fervour.
“When you look at the figures, the scale of the popularity of the series – especially the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual – is clear to see. We are constantly pushing the boundaries of technology, of sporting excellence and organisation, and of what we expect of ourselves. Sometimes, as we have seen, this doesn’t go to plan but we learn from this and move forward as the future for the series is bright.”