With just one week left before the 89th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it’s a great time to highlight some of the ways we can enjoy racing it virtually.

A massive field of cars is set to take on the historic Circuit de la Sarthe on August 21st and 22nd for the 89th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Last year's event was held behind closed doors due to COVID-19, but the race has once again opened its doors to the public this year. Those fortunate enough to attend the race will see the reigning fastest class at Le Mans, LMP1, replaced with the Hypercar class.

There is a Le Mans / WEC game coming in the future from Motorsport Games, but for now, we can content ourselves with some excellent alternatives to recreate the famous endurance race from the comfort of our homes. Hypercar class cars have yet to establish a presence in the virtual racing world, but many current and historic classes and cars are available in select titles. Here are some ways to recreate the 24 Hours of Le Mans in some popular racing games and racing sims.

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RFactor 2

RFactor 2 was selected as the platform for the FIA sanctioned 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual last year, which is high praise for Studio 397’s title. Le Mans 24h is available as DLC for rFactor 2, and can be supplemented with the Endurance Pack DLC, which brings some excellent LMP2, LMP3 and GTE cars to the sim. LMP1 is trickier to acquire since rF2 doesn’t support hybrid powertrains, but the non-hybrid Ginetta G60-LT-P1 from Global Endurance Modding can be found in the rFactor 2 Steam Workshop.

iRacing

The king of online racing is an obvious choice for enjoying some action at Circuit de la Sarthe. Although the official event has come and gone, there is still the chance to enjoy a hosted event or some hotlapping. iRacing offers LMP1, LMP2 and GTE classes.

Project CARS 2

The hotly debated Project CARS 2 title offers a surprisingly deep experience for those looking to easily recreate Le Mans in the comfort of their home. In addition to PC2 offering the standard modern track and LMP1, LMP2 LMP3 and GTE cars of recent years, those who purchase the Spirit of Le Mans DLC will get the chance to race a historic layout of Le Mans using some classic race car classes. PC2 also offers excellent day and night transitions, plus dynamic weather conditions to add layers of complexity to your experience.

Assetto Corsa

It’s no surprise that the most customizable racing sim in the world offers the chance to experience the 24 Hours of Le Mans. One of our most popular track mods here at RaceDepartment is the amazing Circuit 24H Lemans 2017 which offers AC fans the chance to race Circuit de la Sarthe in four configurations. Kunos offers several hybrid LMP1 cars and the eternal crowd favourite that is the Porsche 911 RSR, but modding is where Assetto Corsa shines. There are too many to list, but a quick search for your favourite endurance racing car past or present will likely yield a mod that can be added to your install. Assetto Corsa is also the most likely candidate to receive an endurance Hypercar in the near future.

Gran Turismo Sport

For those with a Playstation 4 or 5 console, GT Sport is still going strong, and offers players the chance to race Le Mans. The car classes are different than real world, but there are several cars on offer in the title that competed at Le Mans in recent years. This is the most cost-effective way to enjoy racing Le Mans at home, since GT Sport is currently sold through the Playstation Store for $20 and can run on a last gen console.

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Let us know in the comments below if you enjoy racing Le Mans at home, and whether you plan to tune in to watch the real-world endurance race.
About author
Mike Smith
I have been obsessed with sim racing and racing games since the 1980's. My first taste of live auto racing was in 1988, and I couldn't get enough ever since. Lead writer for RaceDepartment, and owner of SimRacing604 and its YouTube channel. Favourite sims include Assetto Corsa Competizione, Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2, Automobilista 2, DiRT Rally 2 - On Twitter as @simracing604

Comments

Slapped
Premium
Alternatively you can just go to https://members.fiawec.com/, sign in (or register), cough up €10 and then you can stream the real thing live.

There are also alternatives depending on where in the world you live.

Watching the movie Le Mans lead me to PC2s spirit if Le Mans. I dont regret that at all. I watched the real Le Mans in full when I was younger (yes, no sleep), won’t do that to my wife this year though.
Well to really get into it you and your wife could watch it stints, a spectator swap if you like. You watch it while your wife sleeps, and then she takes over while you sleep.
 
As far as I'm concerned, Le Mans is the greatest race in the world. I look forward to it every year. I wish F1 drivers entered it as they used to in the 50's and 60's. Can you imagine Hamilton, Verstappen, Vettel, Leclerc, Norris and the rest racing there next week? Hulkenberg won a few years ago and I thought that was really cool!

Obviously, that won't happen any time soon, but it's a nice thought...

I really hope the upcoming WEC title will fully simulate the 24 hours, with the complete rules, safety car periods, repairs in the pits, etc.
 
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Something Mike forgot that I think is a pretty big thing to miss out for PCars2 is that you can actually run the 24hr event as a solo driver thanks to it still being the only sim on the market in 2021 to allow you to team up with AI and be a part of a team. Allowing full driver swaps so you can drive proper stints and then pass over to the AI and vice versa. With you in control as to when the AI will pit for you to jump in. Its a really cool oft forgotten feature.
 
Ole Marius Myrvold
Staff
Premium
Something Mike forgot that I think is a pretty big thing to miss out for PCars2 is that you can actually run the 24hr event as a solo driver thanks to it still being the only sim on the market in 2021 to allow you to team up with AI and be a part of a team. Allowing full driver swaps so you can drive proper stints and then pass over to the AI and vice versa. With you in control as to when the AI will pit for you to jump in. Its a really cool oft forgotten feature.

Hmmm, isn't this possible in rF2 as well? I seem to remember it was in rF1 at least. I mean the whole driver swap thing is a relic from Sports Car GT that ISI made, so it wouldn't be a surprise.
 
Ole Marius Myrvold
Staff
Premium
With that being said.

We will run a 2.4hrs at Le Mans with full day/night cycle and live real life weather in the rFactor 2 club! :)
 
Swapping to the AI control via the I key is not quite like the other guy stated. I gives the computer control but does not engage a 2nd driver. It essentially bypasses any rcd file you may have for a teammate. GTR2 allowed you to swap drivers in the pits during a stop and that would use the 2nd driver's rcd file.(or whatever it was called in GTR2) The rcd is essentially a filter that limits certain behaviors of the car, no rcd, no filter, much faster teammate.
Swapping to a true AI controlled teammate is just one of the missing elements of rF2 Solo play. However, by restarting from a replay, you can save the race in chunks & continue on at your leisure. Version updates could/may disrupt that however.
 
Jeffrey Gaskin
Premium
Don't know if I will ever make it to Le Mans in my lifetime, but to strap into VR in any of the listed titles is such a treat, and each brings with it a variation that is just magical! I will say that Assetto Corsa (the go-to for era racing for me) gives me the chance to feel not only the different era cars, but also the different iterations of Circuit de la Sarthe as well!! Great modders right here on Race Department and if any are reading this, BIG THANKS TO YOU FOR ALLOWING US TO LIVE THE DREAM!!!!!

 
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Until I got kids I used to prepare for Le Mans virtually weeks up to by
1: modern full 24H sim in GTR2 with +60 race cars of more modern classes reflecting real classes, doing some test runs to adjust AI talent data and a bit of engine mapping data files. Then doing the full run over days, using save button and driver swap with AI. And random weather scripts, making quick strategy shift a challenge, too.
I still do GTR2 preparation today, now just 1hr/max 2.4hr race without driver swap and time acceleration reflecting the full 24h circle.

2: Classic Le Mans in rF1 WSC 1970 mod at various 1970 track mods and 1-2.4 races with no driver chance. This still holds to this day.

3: Le Mans 24h game 1h race with 24x time acceleration.

All three approches I think most sim heads even today will find lots of joy in, for GTR2 and rF1 especially with the large number of mods available, though unfortunately not all mods are preserved there's still fair opportunities at RD download section and other places at the internet, though nogripracing was shut down and rfactorcentral is more or less reduced to missing links by now.

4: And since last year the rF2 mod with classes similar to last years main sim event.

In PC2 I did an off season Le Mans run this winter, and this works too, I must admit.

It seems bizarre that I haven't used AC for the purpose yet, since that is the sim I've been racing the most for recent years.
 
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