Max Verstappen Rage-Quits Le Mans Sim Race, Calls It ‘A Clown Show’

Connection problems dropped Verstappen’s team out of contention for the championship, leading the F1 champ to go on a tirade on a live stream.

byJames Gilboy|
2023 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual
@LeMansVirtual on Twitter

Reigning two-time Formula 1 champion Max Verstappen rage-quit a sim race and publicly denounced its publisher after technical problems turned the Le Mans Virtual Series finale into what the Dutchman called "a clown show."

Verstappen and his outfit Team Redline were favorites going into this weekend's 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual, the final race on the LMVS calendar. During the race, teams suffered from connection problems, as some competitors had accidentally leaked IP addresses leading to security breaches according to Traxion. This led to two red flags within the first third of the race, and repeated disconnections that disrupted the running order according to Eurogamer.

Starting grid for the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual. @LeMansVirtual on Twitter

One of the teams afflicted was Verstappen's, which had been fighting for the overall win. After the connection problems, Verstappen's team fell to P15 at the 18-hour mark. Too disheartened to continue, Verstappen pulled the plug on the race. They finished second in the championship behind the race's second-placed finisher, Porsche Coanda. Verstappen made his feelings on the matter clear in a rant on his live stream.

"They call it amazingly bad luck, well this is just incompetence," Verstappen said, as transcribed by Eurogamer. "They can't even control their own game. This is also the last time [I] ever [race in this series] because what's the point? You prepare for five months to try and win this championship, you are leading the championship, you try to win this race which you have prepared for two months and they handle it like this. Honestly, it is a joke. You cannot even call it an event. It's a clown show."

Verstappen's competitor and former fellow F1 driver Romain Grosjean opposed the Dutchman's perspective, likening the race's technical problems to mechanical issues in real-life motorsport. Obviously, disconnections aren't fully analogous to engine problems, and are more akin to timing system malfunctions.

Still, it's poetic that Verstappen learned what it's like for outside interference to cost him a championship. Perhaps he could also stand to learn that being paid to sim-race is a privilege, and that ingratitude can have consequences.

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