Vegas eRace: Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport starts the new year with a virtual race
Premiere for Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi: On Saturday (January 7), both drivers from the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport Formula E team take part in a virtual race for the first time. The Vegas eRace will be held in simulators during the world’s biggest electronics exhibition, CES, in Las Vegas. Instead of points, there is prize money to be won: a total of one million dollars.
Screens instead of visors and a hall in the legendary Hotel The Venetian instead of a real race track: The eRace in the heart of Las Vegas is a complete world premiere, with which Formula E once more dares to venture into unknown territory. At the showdown on Saturday afternoon (starting at 4:05 p.m. local time) the 20 regular Formula E drivers also go up against ten gaming specialists who have qualified online beforehand. A million dollar prize money is distributed, with the winner receiving 200,000.
In the face of the new challenge, di Grassi and Abt are at ease. “This is completely new ground. Saturday is even more difficult to predict than a normal Formula E race,” says the South American, who is second in the overall rankings. And Daniel Abt, an avowed PlayStation Fan and long-time gamer, also points out: “The action on the screen is completely different than on the track, because all the physical factors are missing. So the simulator pros will surely have the advantage.”
One of these pros is Patrik Holzmann. The 22-year-old German has qualified as one of the ten best drivers in the run up to the eRace, and will compete as Abt and di Grassi’s teammate for the sole German team. “Being here and being able to compete with the real stars is a true highlight,” says Holzmann modestly, but he also sends a signal of fighting intent: “I do enjoy every minute and all the flair here in Vegas – but of course, I will give everything on Saturday to crack the jackpot.”
The schedule for the eRace is modeled on a real Formula E race: free practice, qualifying, Super Pole and the race will all be held on Saturday, followed by a victory ceremony on the podium. The venue is the hall of the Hotel The Venetian, which forms part of the exhibition. With 3,000 exhibitors, more than 175,000 trade visitors and an amazing 6,000 media representatives, the CES is a show of superlatives and, with its numerous innovations, is the perfect setting for the premiere of the Formula E virtual race.
“The eRace is a good example of how Formula E is time and again a step ahead of many other sporting disciplines,” says team principal Hans-Jürgen Abt. “For more than six decades, we have been racing in motorsport on all of the world’s race tracks – but this event is a total first for us. I wish our three guys a lot of fun and, of course, a lot of luck – whether virtual or on asphalt: we always want to win.”
After the outing in the simulators, the season continues in earnest again for the racing pros on February 18, when Formula E holds its third race of the season in Buenos Aires (Argentina). If you can’t wait until then, the eRace will be broadcast live on the Internet. All links can be found at www.fiaformulae.com.