Following a five-week, 10-race championship in The Race's Legends Trophy, Jenson Button has come out on top in the championship fight with Emanuele Pirro and Jan Magnussen
After a series of standalone events, all of the Legends Trophy events on rFactor 2 were combined into a mini-championship lasting throughout the month of May.
For the first half of the season, the fight looked pretty close. Button had the field covered on pure speed, but with the chaotic reverse grid races consistency counted for more than pace, and a strong run of results for Pirro saw the five-time Le Mans winner prove to be a formidable challenge for the 2009 F1 champion. Throw in wins for Magnussen, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Petter Solberg, and with two rounds to go, the fight was still fairly open.
However, the switch to modern IndyCars racing at the IMS oval threatened to completely shake up the order. And indeed it did - while most of the usual front-runners endured at least one bad race, Button did a fine job to finish second and fourth and put him within touching distance of the title heading into the final round at Silverstone.
Back in the Brabham BT44B, Button finished second ahead of Magnussen, Montoya, and Pirro - enough to give him the championship and a $25,000 prize for the charity of his choice. Indeed, Button’s speed and consistency in the first race of each event was unmatched - he had just the one win, but was second in the other four.
However, Button’s status as the fastest drive in the stacked field had worn off by the end of the season. Fernando Alonso joined the grid for the third event in Zandvoort and although he had front-running speed, a lack of practice saw him involved in multiple incidents and a pair of rage quits. He bounced back for Indy, narrowly beating Button in race one and then scything through in the reverse grid race to win that as well.
Then, at Silverstone, he really laid down a marker. In qualifying, Button took provisional pole by half a second - a huge amount in races that had normally been very close - only for Alonso then smash that and go another six-tenths faster than Button. He shot off into the lead at the start as well and built such a big gap, that he even had enough time in hand to keep the lead when he forgot which layout of the track was being used as he was too busy watching the battle between Button and Magnussen behind him.
In the reverse grid race, Alonso once again proved that his considerable talent was transferring beautifully to the virtual world. On lap one, he went from 18th to fourth, he was second by lap three, and after a misunderstanding with leader Michel Jourdain, he passed Dario Franchitti to take another crushing win - his fourth in a row. He’s going to be seriously tough to beat in the next season…
Over in the Pro Driver cup, Aston Martin driver Nicki Thiim pinched the title in the last race when Esteban Gutierrez’s crashed just before the race start, while the Sim Drivers title went the way of Bono Huis, beating Jernej Simoncic in another close scrap.