FIA Formula E has again made history. In Las Vegas at the legendary Venetian Hotel, twenty drivers from the all-electric race series went head-to-head against ten sim racers in a virtual race through the streets of the gambling metropolis to win a jackpot of one million dollars.
Dutchman Bono Huis ultimately nosed ahead, taking 200,000 dollars for the race win and another 25,000 dollars for pole position. The Faraday Future Dragon Racing driver thus won the largest amount of prize money ever awarded in eSports racing history.
Huis dominated every session and comfortably led the race before being hit by a technical glitch. The Dutchman was obliged to swap cars, losing out to Finn Olli Pahkala, who took the lead and stayed in front to take the checkered flag.
However, Pahkala had benefited from the fact that his fanboost, giving him extra power, lasted for several laps and not just a few seconds, so the Mahindra driver was handed a retrospective time penalty of twelve seconds, dropping him down into third place behind Huis and Felix Rosenqvist, who was the best-placed regular Formula E driver.
Apart from Rosenqvist, four more actual drivers – Jose Maria Lopez, Sam Bird, Daniel Abt and Nelson Piquet – placed in the Top Ten. Abt: “After the first free practice session, I was a bit concerned that I would find myself way down the field again, so I’m really pleased with my top-ten finish. After starting from the back, it almost feels like a podium.”
Lucas di Grassi left to spectate
However, Brazilian Lucas di Grassi, the second ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport driver, had a spot of bad luck, because his race was over before it had even begun. The championship runner-up’s simulator failed to respond to the controls, so the Brazilian was forced to watch the showdown along with the spectators. “It was a real shame. Still, this was a world first, so you have to expect one or two minor hiccups,” said di Grassi.
German Patrik Holzmann, who had joined the team as a fan, showed his skill with a strong seventh place in qualifying but had to retire on the first lap after a brief contact with the wall. “Nevertheless, the days here in Las Vegas, Formula E and the team all made for a terrific experience that I won’t forget in a hurry,” he told us.