Simracing “maybe even tougher than real life” says Leclerc after first win


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Charles Leclerc said his victory in the Virtual Vietnam Grand Prix felt tougher in some ways than real-world racing.

The Ferrari driver scored an emphatic win on today race on F1 2019 using the Albert Park circuit, as the new Hanoi street track is not available in the game.

Leclerc, who scored his first two real-world F1 wins at Spa and Monza last year, said after the race “I believe it’s maybe even tougher than real life.”

“Because we have the feelings of the car in real life,” he explained. “Here it’s a lot more mental.”

Speaking in a post-race interview for the official F1 broadcast, Leclerc said the 29-lap race had been “unbelievably hard.”

“We are sitting on a chair so there is not even the G-force we have on a real car. But I’m sweating like crazy. The muscles are not hurting but the concentration and everything I’ve been sweating a lot and it’s very hard. But a great race.”

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Many of Leclerc’s rivals crashed during the course of the race, which ran to 50% of a real grand prix distance.

“It was tough,” he said. “Everyone was very quick. I think we all knew before going into this race that the one who would do the least mistakes would win, basically, because we are all very close in pace.”

Leclerc’s victory came in his first appearance in F1’s official Virtual Grand Prix series, which held its first event two weeks ago. He said he started practicing a week ago and put in around five hours per day.

“At the end of the week we decided to join all together with George [Russell] and Alex [Albon] and stream everything live and it was very fun so I think we’ll continue to do that.

“Obviously it’s a hard time for absolutely everyone staying at home so we try our best to entertain everyone at home and hopefully this was the case tonight and we’ll try to do many more in the next few weeks.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 14 comments on “Simracing “maybe even tougher than real life” says Leclerc after first win”

    1. Kudos to Leclerc for being one of the few who drove cleanly, didn’t cut corners and didn’t use kerbs in a truly laughable way. Amazing British talents Russell and Button, true examples of flawless gentlemen among the drivers, drove like farmers, espacially through turn 11.

      1. Duncan Snowden
        6th April 2020, 11:54

        Yes, the abuse of track limits was a joke, especially given how obsessive the stewards are about it in real life these days, but hey, it’s just a bit of fun to make up for the lack of real racing. I think of it more like the Top Gear lap or a celebrity kart race than a substitute Grand Prix. They wouldn’t be inviting cricketers and golfers if it was supposed to be taken seriously. Otherwise though, I thought it was a much better race than Bahrain.

        1. Driving on the curbs, or off the track, is how you get the fastest times in this game. Why blame the kids playing the game? Blame the adults pretending the game means anything.

    2. There goes any chance of Vettel joining in on virtual races.

      1. Vettel suck with racing video games but at least he goes to ROC

      2. Lol. Well done sir, well done.

    3. ForzaAlonsoF1
      6th April 2020, 11:37

      It was real good to see LEC win, however we saw almost nothing of his onboard, although his brother Arthur got decent coverage. I play the game myself most days and consider myself half-good, would’ve been interesting to see his techniques.

      1. Twitch has multiple drivers’ onboards of the races, though it’s not always clear which onboard refers to which race. Charles’ is at @iamcharlesleclerc16, George Russell’s is at @gr63 and Nicholas Latifi’s is at @Nicholas_Latifi. These give a quite different view to the rather artificial feel of the “official” YouTube broadcast.


        1. ForzaAlonsoF1
          7th April 2020, 20:17

          Thank you for the advice :)

    4. I saw a stream once with Lando.and Sainz playing iRacing. I think it was the Porsches at Suzuka. Lando missed the race (he trying to join too late) so he watched Carlos race. Carlos was leading and kept saying to Lamdo that he was “nervous, and shaking” whole laughing of course but he seemed to struggle with the pressure. Eventually he made a mistake and had to retire.

      It was funny. It probably has to do with the equal performance of the cars and the fact that you can pretty much go all out every time, at every corner every lap. Plus they are mostly sprint races

    5. Maybe this Leclerc chap is really fast after all?

    6. Lec is a class act, talented, intelligent and humble.
      I really hope the scuderia can do him justice now when the world gets back on its feet.

      I openly admit I thought it was a mistake promoting him so early, but happy to be proved wrong.

    7. Pity they have these guys are using that F1 game. I would love to see the F1 guys in the Indy Iracing series.

    8. Why not Iracing or assetto Corsa? Such a waste of time and effort.

    Comments are closed.