The 24 Hours of Le Mans 2021 took place at the weekend. Plenty of endurance machinery has made it into many of our favourite games. We love flinging around the Mercedes CLK-GTR, for example. Many Porsches that made their names at Le Mans are practically essential inclusions in games. But what about the cars that were less successful? The ones the manufacturers would rather forget?
We're all about weird cars and noble failure. Here are a few Le Mans rejects we'd love to see in future racing games!
Lotus Esprit GT1/GT2
The GT1 category had some of the all-time iconic cars. The entry lists of the 1990s BPR Global GT Series are a whos-who of hypercar royalty. Every great car of the time was turned into a racing machine and entered. Today we can only dream of a category where a Ferrari F40 could battle with a McLaren F1. Even quirky sports cars like the Mazda RX-7 and Venturi 400GTR showed up.
Team Lotus had recently exited Formula 1. The manufacturer was looking for cheaper motorsport to compete in with more road relevance in the hopes of improving flagging sales. They looked to BPR and Le Mans to garner some publicity for their sports cars.
Neither Lotus completed the 1994 Le Mans 24 and the cars didn't return for 1995. The following year, another attempt to turn the ageing wedge into a capable racecar resulted in a string of DNFs. In 1996 the company was reborn under Proton ownership with the new Elise model. The Esprit lived on until 2004.
The Esprit GT1 did make an appearance in a few racing games: Gran Turismo 2 is one many remember fondly. It also turned up in pixellated racer Hotshot Racing. We'd like to see this glorious bodykit in 4K, or at least HD!
Aston Martin AMR-One
After seeing success in the 2009 Le Mans Series, another precursor to today's World Endurance Championship, Aston Martin managed to fall out with chassis designer and manufacturer Lola and decided to go their own way for 2011.
They developed the AMR-One, an unusual-looking open-cockpit prototype with very flat bodywork. The engine was a 2.0L V6 turbo, a major change from the six-litre V12 of the previous model.
It's fair to say the project was rushed and the cars weren't really ready for the twice-around-the-clock challenge of Le Mans. The two cars entered were to manage a mere six laps between them.
The AMR-One was playable in Forza Motorsport 4. After their disastrous Le Mans run, Aston Martin likes to pretend this car never existed. We think that's a shame! Hopefully time will heal the hurt that Aston Martin felt over the project and we can one day drive this again.
Originally a rejected proposal for the next generation of Indycar machinery, DeltaWing somehow emerged as a Le Mans competitor before disappearing back into motorsport obscurity.
Building on the carbon-fibre monocoque of the aborted AMR-One and with a tiny 475 kg dry weight, the DeltaWing team was determined to prove that their design could be the future of racing. They were given an invitation to compete at the 2012 Le Mans 24 and ran somewhere between the tail end of the prototypes and the lead GT cars until being clipped by one of the lead pack and crashing at the Porsche Curves.
With some funding and engines from Nissan, the DeltaWing project popped up at various endurance races around the world for the following few years until becoming embroiled in a legal battle with the Japanese manufacturer and retiring for good.
The DeltaWing showed up in Gran Turismo 6 for its only racing game appearance. We'd love to experience its agility and unusual handling characteristics again. Bring back the DeltaWing!