Formula E has created the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge, a nine-week e-sports competition in which a selection of the best gamers get to race against all Formula E teams.
++ The article has been updated below. ++
The aim of the competition is to raise funds for UNICEF and raise awareness for the fight against the global coronavirus. The competition will start with a test run, which will take place on Saturday 18 April at 16:30 hrs without scoring points and therefore does not officially count as part of the championship.
Over a period of nine weeks until the grand final on 13 June, drivers and players will participate in the online events from home using the rFactor 2 simulator software. Fans will be able to watch two live races each weekend as the Formula One drivers and the e-athletes compete in separate races during the 90-minute broadcast.
Update 20 April 2020: The first test race on the virtual circuit of Monaco was won by Maximilian Günther (BMW i Andretti Motorsport). Second place was earned by Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E team driver Stoffel Vandoorne ahead of André Lotterer (Team TAG HEUER Porsche). The Formula E Sim Racing Championship starts next Saturday with a race on the Hong Kong circuit.
Update 29 April: The first real race of the challenge is done. On the virtual Hong Kong circuit, Maximilian Günther (BMW i Andretti Motorsport) won just as he had in the test before.
Update 08 June 2020: Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-Benz EQ) has secured the title in the Formula E “Race at Home Challenge” on the virtual track in Berlin-Tempelhof. Second place in the final race of the series was enough for the Belgian to pass the previous leader Pascal Wehrlein (Mahindra Racing) in the drivers’ championship.
The fact that points count double in the last race was the smallest problem for Wehrlein: Although he had started in second place directly in front of Vandoorne, he only finished the first lap in 21st place. Nissan driver Sebastian Buémi had braked and had driven Vandoorne’s Mercedes. The latter then touched Wehrlein’s Mahindra, who was still fighting his way up to 9th place after the spin.
Even if the virtual championship fight was decided by a bump not caused by himself, the balance of Vandoorne is impressive: The Mercedes driver was among the top five in all seven virtual races, four times he started from first place. No other driver was so consistent. “Of course it would have been nice to have a real championship fight in the last race. Nevertheless, it is a well-deserved title,” said Vandoorne.
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