It is a UFO that has invited itself into the sporting landscape in 2022: the Grand Prix Explorer. At the start, this car race was just a challenge, launched almost as a joke, during the Z Event 2020, a charity gathering of video game players: “And if we organized a Formula 4 race between people from the Internet? »
Then everything accelerated for the one who launched the idea, Lucas Hauchard, alias Squeezie, videographer with 18 million subscribers on YouTube, when the Automobile club de l’Ouest (ACO) agreed to co-organize the event. , on the Bugatti circuit of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The first edition of the GP Explorer took place on October 8, 2022 in front of 40,000 spectators and more than one million viewers on Twitch. The presentation of the GP Explorer 2 program is scheduled for Wednesday, May 24 from 8 p.m., on the same live video platform, on the Squeezie channel. The expectation of fans can already be seen on social networks.
“I have just completed the craziest project of my life”, Squeezie confessed a few weeks after the success of the first edition. By organizing a Formula 4 (F4) race between amateurs but broadcast like a Formula 1 (F1) Grand Prix, the YouTuber and his associates have shaken up the codes of sports competition. Here, online notoriety takes precedence over performance. Winning is, of course, the objective, but the atmosphere of summer camp is essential to all.
Before the event, twenty-two content creators, most of whom are new to motorsports, received six months of professional training from the French Motorsport Federation (FFSA). A totally new exercise for the FFSA.
“The main activity of a federation is to supervise the organization of all motor racingexplains Nicolas Deschaux, president of the body. In this race, the federation relied on its training center, FFSA Academy, located in Le Mans. » Future drivers benefited from tailor-made training, led by Denis Plichet, instructor for the academy, who advised Pierre Gasly before his rise to F1. “They have benefited from coaching on the edge of the track, but also from engineers who measure everything the car does, declared the monitor during the live of the first edition. There was a whole team behind them so they could progress quickly. »
For these amateur pilots, the main thing was to “finish the race”, but the most passionate among them engaged in real competition. Crash during qualifying, twists and turns during the race… The final of the event was even breathtaking, the winner, Sylvain Lévy, from the Vilebrequin automobile YouTube channel, only two tenths ahead of Depielo, a YouTuber fan of motorsport. A performance praised by Denis Plichet: “Some pilots [du championnat professionnel de F4] would be behind Depielo and Sylvain”believes the trainer of the FFSA.