With a staggering audience of 81 million people, the 24H of Le Mans Virtual has established itself firmly as one of the pioneers of the fast-growing world of esports.
Motorsport Games, the developers behind the virtual race, partnered with Algorand and DEPT® to launch an NFT marketplace to sell, auction, and promote iconic moments from the 2021 race as they happened.
A new first for a historic event
As the longest-running endurance race for sports cars, the in-person Le Mans race has amassed an equally long list of historic moments. The 24H race is punctuated by driver switches, pit stops, inevitable mechanical failures, and the transition from day to night. It’s a demanding test for both drivers and their vehicles and the race’s history encompasses everything from major wins to high-speed crashes.
When the in-person event was postponed in 2020 and Motorsport Games launched the 24H of Le Mans Virtual, the immersive simulation event was designed to have all of the hallmarks of the original—including those same historic moments.
For the 2021 race, Motorsport Games decided to celebrate the return of the virtual event with an NFT collection of these moments. Working with DEPT®, they set out to launch an NFT marketplace to package and sell the race’s historic moments both from its inaugural year and also as they occurred during the race’s second outing.
Iconic racing moments, now collectible
The 24H Le Mans Virtual NFT marketplace was built using Algomart, the open-source platform on the Algorand blockchain created by DEPT®. We worked with Motorsport Games to take Algomart out of the box and launch their branded marketplace just in time for race day 2021.
Using Algomart opened the door to what otherwise might have been nearly impossible. Building a full-scale branded NFT platform from scratch requires an inordinate investment of time and resources. And, with blockchain technologies still relatively new, most brands don’t have the in-house capability to marry the off-chain and on-chain systems needed to build a blockchain-based marketplace.
Algomart provided a solution to these issues that looked and functioned like a traditional e-commerce experience. Moreover, it put Motorsport Games in control of creating their own bespoke offering with a tech stack that could scale as needed.
Motorsport Games’ NFT offering consisted of five collections, each representing a world-renowned racetrack, and each containing multiple NFT packs. Much like the NBA’s successful TopShot NFT series, fans who purchased these could “rip” packs to reveal iconic moments of sports history. In the Le Mans case, these moments were captures of the race from the immersive platform created by Traxion.gg.
Depending on the rarity of the pack and just how iconic the moments it contained were, prices ranged from $5 to $50. But it’s also worth noting that Motorsport Games also released 526 editions of four “common” NFT packs for free, all of which were claimed within a matter of hours.
Ultimately, by taking advantage of Algomart, we helped Motorsport Games successfully enter a new and exciting market that fits the brand of a pioneering esport like the virtual Le Mans race.
An important foundation for the esport revolution
The first collection of NFTs for the 24H Le Mans Virtual was generally well received.
The promotional free packs were claimed quickly and nearly 60% of the total NFTs available have been purchased. Overall, fans were excited to see a sports car race enter the NFT world and even more excited that the Le Mans NFTs would be created on the Algorand blockchain.
By working with DEPT® to create an NFT marketplace, Motorsport Games has built the foundation early for an evolution in esports that seems inevitable. As blockchain technology ushers in play-to-earn gaming and draws more attention to the fast-growing world of esports, Motorsport Games will be able to expand their NFT marketplace accordingly.