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Anton, Team SEA 4th in 24 Hours Le Mans, beat F1 king and squad

IÑIGO ANTON

Inigo Anton and the Southeast Asian Racing Team capped the virtual 24 Hours Le Mans Virtual including beating Formula 1 king Max Verstappen and his team in the process.

The SEA team showed the global motorsport community that racers from the region are a force to be reckoned with when they clinched fourth place at the biggest sim racing competition in the world, the 24 Hours Le Mans Virtual.

Axle Sports, founded by former Formula 1 driver Alex Yoong, fielded two teams in the competition which saw a high-profile grid of racers including current Formula 1 World Champion Max Verstappen, Juan Pablo Montoya and some of the best esports drivers in the world.

LMP car #21 of team SEM9 Flash Axle was piloted by racers Naquib Azlan from Malaysia and Anton as well as gamers Mohammad Aleef of Singapore and Josh Purwien from Australia.

Yoong, who is also Team Manager, said “I’m so proud of this group of drivers. I always knew they could be world class and today we showed the global motorsport community what we are capable of. Thank you to SEM9 for partnering with us. And also to Team Flash and JMX Phantom who collaborated with us and Next Level Racing who provided our rigs.”

The star strucked 17-year old son of a restaurateur, who raced with the team for the first time in a global competition, couldn’t contain his excitement. “We were all just so excited to race with Max Verstappen. I won’t deny that I was completely star struck. We dreamed of making it to the top ten. Our team boss, Alex Yoong, believed that we could make it to the top five as long as we all worked hard for it. Then we end up being 4th in the world! Is this for real?” said the young Filipino racer .

Azlan added “We’ve won races and even championships before but this is probably the sweetest moment we’ve felt as a team.”

Team SEM9 Flash Axle were unofficially voted as “the most impressive team” and considered the dark horse by the race commentators, they were the only outfits from Southeast Asia that competed in the endurance series alongside the likes of Realteam Hydrogen Redline, Red Bull Racing Esports, R8G Esports, Veloce Esports, Panis Racing and Alpine Esports.

The first four races in the Le Mans Virtual Series were held online between September and December 2021, with the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual taking place as the climax to the premier endurance esports championship which offered a prize pool of US$250,000.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual final was won by Felipe Drugovich, Oliver Rowland, Jeffrey Rietveld and Michal Smidl for Realteam Hydrogen Redline. In GTE, the BMW Team Redline entry driven by Kevin Siggy, Rudy van Buren, Lorenzo Colombo and Enzo Bonito took the laurels. Both class winners also claimed their respective overall championship victories.

The 50 cars took to the grid at Circuit de la Sarthe, with only 33 teams finishing the full 24 hours.

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