Daniel Abt finishes in the top ten in first Vegas eRace

Strong showing by youngster Daniel Abt – by way of exception not on the race track, but in fact on the simulator in Las Vegas: the German produced an inspirational recovery drive in the first virtual Formula E race in history on his way from 17th on the grid to claim ninth place and the accompanying 25,000 Dollar prize money. Abt’s team mates Lucas di Grassi und Patrik Holzmann, who had qualified as fan for the race, went away empty handed.

Spectacular racing, enthusiastic exhibition visitors and a unique atmosphere in the halls of the CES (Consumer Electronic Show): Formula E made a great impact with the premiere of a virtual race. For the first time, the drivers from the electric racing series did not compete against each other on the track, but in fact on simulators and in doing so also came up against ten fans who had qualified to race beforehand online. The Vegas eRace was broadcast on huge video screens and live online.

While the simulator experts from all over Europe fought as expected for victory between themselves, Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi leave Las Vegas with many new experiences and noticeable success: in the 30 person field, Daniel Abt finished in ninth place and was nevertheless fourth best professional race driver. “After first free practice I was a little afraid that I would end up right at the back,” admitted Abt. “I’m even happier with my top ten position – after starting from the back ninth place feels like a podium finish for me.”

For team mate Lucas di Grassi the Vegas eRace was over before it had even begun: the championship runner-up’s simulator had a technical glitch so that the Brazilian was forced to watch the showdown together with the spectators. “A real shame. However, it was a genuine world premiere in which you have to expect a few teething problems,” says Grassi. “It’s obviously annoying that I was affected. But we still enjoyed a fantastic event and made tremendous advertising for Formula E among a completely new target group.”

Patrik Holzmann, who joined the team as fan, came up trumps in qualifying with a strong seventh place, but dropped out of the race on the first lap after light contact with the wall. “Despite this the time in Las Vegas with Formula E and the team was a fantastic experience that I won’t forget in a hurry.”

In ‘real’ life Formula E gets serious again in six weeks: on February 18, the series stages its third race of the season in Buenos Aires (Argentina) – this time with race cars and tarmac. After the first two races in Hong Kong and Marrakesh, Lucas di Grassi is second overall. Formula E holds twelve races appearing at venues such as Mexico City, Monaco, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, New York and Montreal.