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Jenson Button wins first race of Legends doubleheader at Sebring


Former Formula One champion Jenson Button won the opener of Saturday’s Legends Trophy doubleheader at Sebring International Raceway, leading all five laps from the pole to his first victory in the series.

The Legends Trophy is an eSports league for former racers 40 and older. There were 20 drivers in the virtual race, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Helio Castroneves, Dario Franchitti, Jacques Villeneuve, Rubens Barrichello and Max Papis.

Juan Pablo Montoya finished second, 2.16 seconds behind Button, after starting fifth. World Touring Car legend Andy Priaulx took third.

Button was rewarded with a $10,000 donation to the House of Ruth, which helps families victimized by domestic violence.

“It’s amazing how nervous you get on this,” Button said after the race. “I was more nervous on this than I am in real life. For everyone, it’s impressive to see. For Emerson Fittipaldi to get on here and be as quick as he is is really impressive at 73! This isn’t our bread and butter. This isn’t normal for us, it’s definitely different.

“But it’s been a lot of fun to race against people I’ve raced against in Formula 1 and other categories. Plus drivers I wish I had the opportunity to race against. This is pretty awesome.”

In the second race, the starting grid of identical McLaren M23s was based on the reverse finishing order of the first to land five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro the pole position. Aided by a massive multicar incident on the start, Pirro wasn’t challenged in leading all five laps.

Castroneves finished second, 2.61 seconds behind Pirro. Dario Franchitti held off Priaulx on the final lap to finish third.

Pirro became the fifth different winner in five Legends Trophy races, joining Button, Franchitti, Jan Magnussen and Rubens Barrichello.