When NASCAR announced that a NASCAR Next Gen car will take part in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans as a Garage 56 entry, we immediately started to wonder how a big, heavy and powerful Cup car would do around Le Mans.

Luckily, iRacing has already created the NASCAR Next-Gen and, naturally, maintains a highly realistic model of the 8.467-mile Le Mans circuit.

We asked our friend and Le Mans winner Townsend Bell to jump into the cockpit of the new 2022 Motion Pro II simulator and run a session for us to see how the Next-Gen will stack up. Townsend helps us develop our simulators and as a Le Mans veteran, knows that the iRacing track model is highly realistic.

Within his first lap, his impressions were crystallized. While the Next Gen will make quick work of all of the circuit’s long straightaways, in its current specification, it will give up time to the GTE and GT3 cars when it comes time to slow down and turn. He also noted that it was a vehicle that required a lot of effort to drive, also owing to its relatively heavy weight. While we know that the Next-Gen car that competes at Le Mans next season will be drastically different – and faster – this exercise serves as a reminder of the power of racing simulation to drive in situations that may not have otherwise been feasible. Sim racing can be about much more than learning a new car or track – we can also devise entirely new scenarios that force a driver to adapt and develop new driving skills.

But for now, this provides a preview of the sights and sounds of what to expect with a NASCAR V8 thundering down the Mulsanne in 2023.

Take part in your own virtual racing scenario with the Motion Pro II.