Playing video games is a pastime typically reserved for escaping reality for a while by fighting aliens in space, defeating an evil turtle only to find out the princess is in another castle, or in the case of Forza Motorsport, pretending to be a professional racer trying to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. These escapes are fun, challenging, and getting increasingly more realistic. Yet victory in a video game has never really amounted to much besides a sense of self-satisfaction. So when the opportunity arises to win something real for playing a video game, it’s a pretty big deal.
That is exactly what Michelin Tire offered up when they posed their 24 Hour Challenge to Forza Motorsport 6 players around the world. To celebrate their participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Michelin challenged Forza players to set their fastest lap time in the game at the Circuit de la Sarthe, AKA the Le Mans racetrack. Whoever could set the fastest time in that 24-hour period would win an all expenses-paid trip to Le Mans for the 2017 24-hour race. Considering the grand prize is valued at over $10k, it’s a pretty tempting prospect. Despite how much I suck at Forza, I actually took my shot at the prize as well, but not in the same way as most.
In addition to sponsoring the 24-hour Forza challenge, Michelin also partnered with the Petersen Automotive Museum, Microsoft, Ford Performance, Brembo, and Polk Audio to host a Le Mans viewing party at the newly redesigned museum. Most of the second floor of the museum was turned into one big theatre with a giant projection screen displaying a live feed of the race. Attendees at the party were also invited to lay down lap times of their own on one of several Playseat racing rigs set up on the in the viewing area. Meanwhile in the Forza Motorsport Experience area of the museum, six three-person teams representing Michelin, the Petersen Museum, Forza Motorsport, Brembo, and Polk Audio were competing in their own Forza endurance race, which was being live streamed on Twitch.
At the end of the night it was life imitating art as the team representing Ford Performance won the competition just hours before the Ford GT dominated its class at Le Mans. It was a pretty fun event and just highlights some of the reasons why the Petersen Museum is such a great place to hang out (anyone remember Tech Day 2016?) If you live in the LA area I would highly recommend looking into a museum membership, and if you ever visit the City of Angels from out of town the Petersen should definitely be on your itinerary.
Oh ... you want to know my lap time? Ah, well, the time to beat for the night was a 3:51. The best I could manage was a 3:57 but that was because I thought I'd be cool and turn off assists that I'd normally use. Otherwise I would have crushed it! Really, I would have! Bah ...