The first-ever virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans will see the presence of a 488 GTE no. 51 entered by Ferrari – AF Corse. A new quartet of drivers will take the wheel, trying to replicate the success of its real counterpart last season. This isn’t an easy challenge given the quality of the opposition, the very limited preparation time, and the French circuit’s high technical difficulty. The quartet of Nicklas Nielsen, David Perel, Kasper Stoltze, and Matteo Caruso combines talent and experience, and are one of the GTE class crews to follow in the race that starts on Saturday 13 June, at 3 pm.
Nielsen. Nicklas Nielsen was born on 6 February 1997 in Denmark. In 2017, he entered the world of closed-wheel cars, while continuing to compete in karts and Formula 4. He began in the Ferrari Challenge where he won both races on his debut. This persuaded him to continue in the Prancing Horse one-make series the following season. Nielsen found the Challenge an excellent training ground, as we can see from his ten victories and podium finish in every race, bringing him the European and World series titles at the Finali Mondiali in Monza. He then made the natural switch from the 488 Challenge to the 488 GTE, and in 2019 he debuted with Luzich Racing in the European Le Mans Series. Together with Fabien Lavergne and Alessandro Pier Guidi, he secured the title in the 488 GTE with four victories out of six races, winning the Rookie of the year award. He also started to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship in the 488 GTE of AF Corse in the LMGTE AM class, with François Perrodo and Emmanuel Collard. In late 2019, he was appointed official Ferrari Competizioni GT driver.
Perel. David Perel was born on 7 May 1985 in South Africa and is one of the best examples of a professional driver who is also a highly skilled sim racer. Usually at the wheel of the 488 GT3 of Rinaldi Racing in the SRO championships, David made his debut in GT competitions in 2016 with Kessel Racing, triumphing in the Barcelona round of the GT Open. He was the most successful Ferrari driver in 2017, winning three titles in the Am class of the Blancpain championship (Sprint, Endurance and Overall). That season and the next, he won the 24 Hours of Spa, triumphing first in the AM class (with Kessel Racing) and then in the Pro-Am for Rinaldi Racing, the team he represented in 2018 and 2019. He ended 2017 with second place in the Pro-Am class of the GT World Challenge.
Stoltze. Kasper Stoltze was born on 12 March 1989 in Denmark. After six seasons in karting and five in historic races, he started cultivating his sim driving skills in 2015. With the rise of eSports, Stoltze achieved impressive results in the Virtual Endurance Championship and Endurance eRacing World Championship, where he won races, titles and three editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In addition to his triumphs on the French circuit, his performance in the 2015 edition of the GTR 24H, held at Le Mans, remains memorable when he nearly won thanks to a resounding comeback that allowed him to recover more than 4’30” to the leader of the race.
Caruso. Matteo Caruso was born on 19 October 1995 in Italy and has been a professional sim racer since 2017. In his debut season, he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the second division of the Virtual Endurance Championship (VEC). The following season he nearly took the first division title, finishing second but dominating the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This year, Matteo tops the first division of the VEC with one race to go. A point of interest: last year during a virtual endurance race the Italian driver completed a massive eight-hour uninterrupted stint.