Two-time World Endurance Champion Brendon Hartley has been confirmed to pilot one of two Toyota GAZOO Racing’s LMP2 machines in next month’s virtual Le Mans 24 Hour event.
Hartley will share the #8 Toyota-entered Oreca 07 with current WEC co-driver Sebastian Buemi and reigning Super GT champion Kenta Yamashita.
The 30-year-old racer out of Palmerston North has been an ardent supporter of the role sim-racing has had during the coronavirus-induced suspension from motorsport.
Hartley led the charge in the recent Racing Local Eseries which saw a myriad of top New Zealand racing talent go head-to-head in a charity virtual championship, raising over $34,000 for small kiwi businesses.
The second Toyota entry is set to consist of current WEC point leaders Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez and Mike Conway.
Both entries will race in the LMP2 class due to LMP1 cars not being available in the rFactor 2 software the race will utilise.
Ferrari F1 star Charles Leclerc and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi have also confirmed today the will team in one the three factory Ferrari entries, bringing the current tally of F1 drivers in the race up to five alongside Max Verstappen, Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly.
Two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso and 11-time Grand Prix Rubens Barrichello will share an Oreca 07 LMP2 entry in a star-studded lineup.
Alonso has been heavily invested into the realm of sim-racing since the launch of his own esports team back in 2017.
The duo will team with sim-racing aficionados Olli Pahkala and Jarl Teien.
Fellow World Champion Jenson Button has also been a late signing to the event and will compete for his Team Rocket outfit. He will be partnered by British driver Alex Buncombe, who was previously a part of Nissan’s short-lived LMP1 project.
The virtual event is slated to go ahead on the original June 13-14 date of the real-life race and will be streamed live via yet-to-be-determined social media platforms.