Jan Magnussen and Rubens Barrichello triumphed in the Legends Trophy races of The Race's esports event
If, like me, you’re old enough to remember watching Magnussen and Barrichello actually race during their time as F1 teammates at Stewart in 1997 and 1998, then today seems a little bit ridiculous.
Back in that era of F1, the only way either would have won anything would have been during a particularly bonkers race on the F1 ‘97 game - and yet I’ve just seen the pair of them sweep the two Legends Trophy events on rFactor 2 while driving a Brabham from 1975. If you’d told eight-year-old me that (or even 18-year-old me), I would have wondered what the hell you were on about. Mad, isn’t it? And yet that’s just one reason as to what makes sim racing so incredible.
Jan utterly dominated the first race, having taken a comfortable pole position and then rocketed off into the distance - clearly he’d had a bit of practice in the last week. Andy Priaulx finished second with Dario Franchitti third, while Barrichello was in the middle of the pack in eighth after this synchronised spin with Helio Castroneves.
Such was Magnussen’s pace that you had to wonder whether he could do the double in the reverse grid race, but a couple of incidents meant that he never really featured. Barrichello, meanwhile, made the most of the situation. He stayed out of in the inevitable trouble on the opening lap, passed Max Papis for the lead on the second lap, and ran away and hid while the slightly faster guys tripped over each other trying to fight through the pack. Emanuele Pirro made it up to second while Tiago Montiero was third, joining Barrichello on the podium - Indianapolis 2005-style.
Jenson Button had an interesting couple of races. He only just made the start of the first race (apparently he didn’t realise the race was about to start) and got caught up in a number of incidents before finishing ninth. He lost out at the start again in race two before recovering to fifth, just behind Franchitti.
It’s great to see so many of the older, legendary drivers getting involved in these races, so let’s hope these events inspire more of them to jump in and have a go. Someone like Jacques Villeneuve would surely be a laugh…
The pro racers were a little cleaner, but the racing was no less frenetic as the NOLA circuit seemed to enable very close-fought action. The sim racers were on top as usual, with Kevin Siggy claiming a dominant win from Bono Huis and Rudy van Buren - who pinched third with an awesome move around the outside of Erhan Jajovski on the final lap. The top ‘real world’ driver was BTCC racer Mike Epps, who finished just ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne and Luca Ghiotto.