Sim racer beats Formula E drivers in Las Vegas eRace

2016/2017 FIA Formula E Championship. Vegas eRace, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States of America. Saturday 7 January 2017. Photo: Zak Mauger/LAT/Formula E ref: Digital Image _X0W7631

Sim racers dominated proceedings at the first ever virtual Formula E race in Las Vegas.

Members of the public were invited to qualify for the eRace, with ten being chosen to compete against the current crop of 20 Formula E drivers for a share of the $1million prize pot.

Thanks to their gaming experience these ‘sim racers’ proved to be far more adept at handling the virtual Las Vegas track, and ended up filling nine of the top ten places in qualifying.

They continued this dominance in the race, and although the first across the line was eventually demoted to third after a glitch in the software, polesitter Bono Huis took the $200,000 prize for first place.

The only Formula E racer who was able to get close was Mahindra Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist, who eventually came home to finish second.

Jose Maria Lopez, Sam Bird, Daniel Abt and Nelson Piquet Jr managed to finish in the top ten, but were helped after several drivers were eliminated on the first lap.

The Las Vegas eRace was devised partly to fill the long gap between rounds two and three of the Formula E calendar.

It was also hailed by organisers as ‘world leading’, and the first race of its kind – with Hans-Jurgen Abt saying that it showed that Formula E was a ‘step-ahead’ of other sports.

And despite several technical glitches besetting the race, Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag declared it a success.

He said, “This first eRace in Las Vegas was a great success. It’s exciting to have brought Formula E into the inner sanctum of CES – the biggest and most influential technology show in the world.

“I think this can be the first in a big future for Formula E in eSports racing.

“We will continue to pursue new and innovative ways to improve our presence in this fast growing landscape, while maintaining fan engagement at the forefront of all our initiatives.”

The most significant news to come out of the weekend in Vegas was that the Motorsport Network has bought shares in Formula E.

The motorsport digital technology business said that it was part of a broader strategy to take a leading position in elective vehicle and electric racing media.