The FIA Formula E drivers are not just savvy on the tarmac. In Las Vegas, they proved they can be trailblazers on the virtual tracks as well, taking part in the inaugural Visa Vegas eRace held at the Venetian Hotel. The race carried the biggest prize purse in eRace history — a whopping USD 200,000.
The day belonged to a sim racer (simulation racer), who edged out the Formula e champs. Bono Huis of Faraday Future Dragon Racing clinched victory in the Vegas eRace, walking away with USD 200,000 and an additional USD 25,000 for pole position.
FIA President Jean Todt watched with interest as history was made with real race drivers racing wheel-to-wheel (virtually that is) on the famous Las Vegas Strip.
“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,” said Alejandro Agag, Founder & CEO of Formula E.
“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 winner of the day, Huis, who topped every session through the event, made a clean getaway from the line and held on to his lead throughout the first stint. Following the first round of pitstops, the Dutch driver dropped to second place behind Olli Pahkala (Mahindra Racing).
Despite entering unknown territory, the Formula E drivers demonstrated that driving ability is comparable across both a real and virtual world.
Felix Rosenqvist (Mahindra Racing) showed his natural ability for sim racing and versatility putting in a strong performance to finish second as the best-placed Formula E driver.
Jose Maria Lopez (DS Virgin Racing), Sam Bird (DS Virgin Racing), Daniel Abt (ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport) and Nelson Piquet Jr. (NextEV NIO) finished in the top-10, again highlighting the close competition between the drivers and sim racers.
David Greco (Renault e.dams) crossed the line in 15th place, but picked up fastest lap and USD 10,000 in the process.
The FIA Formula E championship returns to US soil for the inaugural running of the New York City ePrix on July 15 and 16, against the backdrop of Lower Manhattan on the purpose-built Brooklyn Street Circuit.