How Verstappen plans to fit Nurburgring 24 sim race into Imola F1 weekend

While participating on a Team Redline – the sim racing team he drives for – stream, Verstappen announced a few days ago that he was keen to join the team for the 24-hour race despite the Imola race taking place on the same weekend.

Verstappen explained on Thursday that his participation in the iRacing event on the renowned Nordschleife circuit is not yet decided, but the three-time champion nonetheless feels that he should be able to do both over.

Verstappen has taken delivery of a new simulator rig that will accompany him to the European F1 races and cited that the nature of endurance racing – where he will have three team-mates – would ensure that he could dip in and out of the races if other commitments do not preclude his involvement.

The sim race will start on Saturday and end on Sunday, and Verstappen reckoned that this leaves him with opportunities to jump into his custom simulator without burning the candle at both ends.

“It’s a 24-hour race and I think there are four of us on the car. But of course, I don’t have a lot of time, Saturday night and Sunday morning,” Verstappen explained. “[I have] between two and four hours, if I’m going to do it. It depends a bit, how it works out with the times.

“You do have to go to bed on time and get your hours of sleep, of course, to start the Sunday well rested. You can’t decide for everyone what they do on a Saturday night. People can go out for dinner, do crazy things…

“It’s in my free time and I think I’m professional enough to see for myself what’s OK and what’s not OK.”

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Verstappen added that, having made his potential participation in the virtual counterpart to the Nurburgring 24 Hours public knowledge, he was aware that people could use this as a point of criticism should he endure a less-than-felicitous race at the Imola circuit on Sunday.

He countered that he had been sim racing during grand prix weekends before, and thus should not be viewed as a distraction from his primary duties for Red Bull as he embarks on his quest for a fourth successive title.

“[If something goes wrong on Sunday] they’ll say so. It doesn’t matter to me anyway. Look, as I just said, I think I’m professional enough that I know what can and can’t be done. If you don’t go to bed and you don’t sleep, it won’t be good for your race on Sunday. But I think with so many years of experience I do know what to do.

“I do it all the time. I’ve also been gaming the last few races. None of that matters very much. But people don’t talk about that because I haven’t brought that up. This time I have.”

The iRacing version of the Nurburgring 24 Hours precedes the real-world version by two weeks and includes a host of GT3, GT4 and TCR cars in the competition, along with Porsche GT3 Cup machinery. Verstappen won the event with Team Redline in 2021.

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