GRR

How Max Verstappen won two races simultaneously at Imola

20th May 2024
Ethan Jupp

Three-time Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen doesn’t really need to make life harder for himself to prove any points about his ability in and dedication to racing. But through sheer love of the graft, he found himself a race winner twice over on Sunday - not just of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, but of the virtual Nürburgring 24 Hours, too.

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One of a team of four, Verstappen joined Chris Lulham, Florian Lebigre, and Diogo Pinto in the Team Redline BMW M4 GT3. But of course, the small complication of a Formula 1 championship grand prix happening at more or less the same time had to be overcome. 

Happily, being a 24-hour race, Max could time his participation around the grand prix, with his main stint taking place on the day of qualifying, specifically before bedding down for a pre-GP night’s sleep… Logistically, though, the necessity of actually having a sim rig to drive on was a challenge that had to be overcome. And it was overcome by TeamRedline having a custom sim rig delivered to Max’s motorhome.

“To make it happen we needed to build a sim that would fit in his motorhome,” explained TeamRedline’s director, Atze Kerkhoff in a social media post.

“We did this with Simlab, our partner, and P1XPro and it turns out to be a very, very easy sim to put together. We were supposed to ship it in the MP Motorsport Formula 2 trailer but the sim was a tiny bit too big, but they helped us out greatly to ship the sim to Imola with a flower guy, who had to be there randomly for some business. So, the sim got shipped in a trailer with flowers to Imola. It was almost plug and play once it was there.”

The logistics of getting the sim rig to Max were only the start, however, as Kerkhoff explains:

“Then of course we had the power cuts. A certain driver had a short in his coffee machine so the power went down in the motorhome place. That forced us to get an APC to make sure that when there’s a power cut, the sim keeps running. That was quite a challenge for Jack, who travelled all around Imola and Milan, I think. It turned out Max is driving for a team where they actually have these things in stock.”

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In terms of Max’s setup, the sim rig delivered to him at Imola is as you’d expect: top-of-the-line, and can be tailored to his preferences precisely. Nevertheless, he went into it inexperienced, at least in terms of seat time with that specific rig.

“It’s actually the first race he’s driving with the Simucube wheelbase and he’s using the TeamRedline version. It took him two laps to be on pace. We have the active pedals for him so he can set the throttle and the brake pressure exactly as he wants it.”

So that’s how Max contested two races in one weekend. How he won, of course, is a question all who wish to defeat him continue to ask. That was quite the defensive drive to keep a charging Lando Norris at bay around Imola in the closing laps of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, something TeamRedline guys playfully refer to as his ‘hobby’.

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  • Emilia Romagna Grand Prix 2024

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