Le Mans is driving force behind 24 hour Xbox charity race

Warrington Guardian: Forzathon organiser Chris Larsen and DB Gaming owner Michael Williams Forzathon organiser Chris Larsen and DB Gaming owner Michael Williams

PLAYING racing games in Warrington is a far cry from the supercharged atmosphere of Le Mans.

But with spectators, a champions’ podium and even a team principal, 24 ‘drivers’ will be making their charity event as authentic as possible.

Eight teams of three will be racing for 24 hours at DB Gaming in Crown Street to match the world famous endurance championship on Saturday, June 14.

They will playing on eight connected Xbox One consoles and will be racing on the same track, Circuit de la Sarthe, using the game Forza Motorsport 5.

Organiser Chris Larsen said: “I watched the Le Mans 24 hour race and felt inspired by the drivers’ sacrifice.

“I remember going to bed at 1am and getting up at 7am and they were still racing. I thought that was incredible.”

Chris has also been a video games fan since the days of the Amiga and so decided to combine his two passions for the event.

The Newton resident added: “The great thing about Forza is it lets us recreate the race as closely as possible without actually doing it.

“People are being really competitive already and tweets are going around about who’s done the fastest lap.

“The makers of Forza have their own tyre physics and they probably know as much about Pirelli tyres as Pirelli do. It’s as real as you can get it.

“It’s got quite serious. My friends from Bristol are coming up for it and there’s a lad at work who wants to be involved but doesn’t want to race so he has become our team principal.

“We’re going to have a podium presentation and a trophy. I think that will be the highlight.

“I have this perfect image of me standing on the top step of podium looking out into a sea of faces and reaching the fundraising goal. That would be a dream for me.”

Chris hopes to raise £2,000 for Kidney Research UK in tribute to his friend Sophie Walker’s battle with Goodpasture syndrome.

The 32-year-old also wants to raise awareness of the shortage of organ donors – 350 people die every year while waiting for a kidney transplant.

Chris said: “Sophie’s just had a transplant at Christmas for a new kidney but she is still in and out of hospital all the time and it’s amazing the shortage of donors.

“When you’re doing it for charity it gives you that extra drive and that goal.”

Chris, who works at Vodafone in Birchwood Park, is such a fan of video games that he has a tattoo from the sci-fi game series Halo on his wrist.

“It’s a massive passion of mine,”

“I like the social aspect as well. I play with people in America and Sweden.

“One of the stigmas of gaming is that you’re locked in a room and you’re not having a conversation with anybody.

“Whereas the reality is the Xbox has allowed me to stay in touch with friends in Bristol and make new friends.

“There’s a massive change there that people don’t necessary know about so hopefully getting people into the shop to see that will change their perspective.”

- To pledge your support to Chris, visit justgiving.com/forzathon or pop into DB Gaming on the day.

The Le Mans 24 hour challenge starts at 2pm on Saturday, June 14

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