Formula 1 Driver Max Verstappen recently rage quit the highly anticipated 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual following a series of disconnections which resulted in multiple red flags, calling the event a “clown show.” Verstappen was just awarded the title of World Champion for the second year in a row after an incredibly strong Formula 1 season with Red Bull Racing.
“The checkered flag has been shown for the 2023 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual, the grand finale to this season’s Le Mans Virtual Series,” the official announcement reads. “The event’s 45 entries brought together 180 elite drivers from both the real and esports worlds. Together, they represented 41 different countries and raced on the legendary French track on 164 different simulators located around the world.”
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Verstappen previously mentioned how 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual is “very important to me and the team and we’re hoping for a great weekend to bring home the win." The driver went on to explain that "we treat this like a real, live race. We’re fine tuning the car’s setup and testing it in the hottest and coldest conditions, in rainy and dry weather and in both night and day. There are weeks of preparation that go into this and a lot of people don’t realize that."
While the driver may have been looking forward to the event, 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual ended up being marred by technical issues. The opening was interrupted by several disconnections and a couple of red flags, causing the event to stop for a substantial amount of time. When the race finally restarted, Verstappen soon pulled into first place, only to be disconnected. This appears to have prompted the driver to withdraw from the race.
"Look at this. They call it amazingly bad luck. This is just incompetence," Verstappen said shortly before rage quitting. "They can't even control their own game. This is already the third time this happens to me now, that we get kicked off the game while doing this race."
Executive Producer on 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual Gérard Neveu pinned the blame for the various disconnections on a distributed denial of service attack. "It became clear within the first seven hours of the race that we had some serious server issues which led to us showing the red flag on the race twice," Neveu said in a statement. "After some initial investigation, it seems that some race competitors accidentally shared to the public the internet provider addresses connecting them to the server which is not supposed to happen.”
The explanation provided by Neveu appears to have been somewhat insufficient, at least for Verstappen. "You prepare for five months to try and win this championship, you're leading the championship, you're trying to win this race which you prepared for two months and they handle it like this. I mean, there have been two red flags, they blame it on I don't even know what, people DDoSing the server,” Verstappen remarked. “Honestly, it's a joke. You cannot call this an event. It's a clown show." The driver added that "I think I'm going to uninstall the game. That's nice. Frees up a bit of space.”