confidential until Friday morning.
6 January 2017, Las Vegas: Mahindra Racing is aiming to kick off the new year with another trip to the podium, this time in the virtual world at the Formula E Vegas eRace, which is being held on Saturday as part of the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
With the addition of leading Finnish sim racer Olli Pahkala to the team’s regular driver line-up of Swede Felix Rosenqvist and German Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing is betting on a top result at this Formula E race with a difference.
So what’s the big deal?
Money, money, money! With a total prize pool of $1 million (USD), the Vegas eRace will make history as the biggest sim race event to date. The winner will take away a cool $200,000, second stepping out on $100k, third $50k and down to $20k each for drivers finishing 11-30. While no FIA Formula E Championship points will be awarded, there are literally a million incentives!
How is it going to work and what can we expect?
Pretty much exactly what you’d see at a street-based Formula E race, except that the entire schedule will take place completely virtually. The ability to prepare is very limited, with the special circuit layout incorporating the famous Las Vegas Strip kept strictly under wraps until 9.30am on Friday 6 January.
Fans once again have the opportunity to influence the race outcome by voting for their favourite driver with FanBoost on social media and at fanboost.fiaformula.com. The top three drivers will receive an extra 100kJ of energy, which could be decisive.
The first chance our racers will get to climb into the driving seat will be on Friday evening with the first of two free practice sessions. In the tradition of Formula E’s condensed race day format, the rest of the schedule will all take place on Saturday 7 January at CES. The final roll of the dice, the one that counts for cash, the Vegas eRace will start at 4pm PST and stream online at www.fiaformulae.com.
What the contenders say…
Olli Pahkala: “It’s a honour to join Mahindra Racing, I was really happy to find out that I would be joining Nick and Felix as the team is one of my favourites. There is good opportunity to win big in Vegas, but it’s difficult to say how it will pan out. The track is new and we will have a very limited amount of practice, so anything can happen! I will give everything I have and, on a good day, that should be enough for a victory. One thing is for sure – I will enjoy the event no matter what the outcome. We are going to make sim racing history so it’ll be unforgettable!”
Felix Rosenqvist: “Since the Vegas eRace is new for everyone, it’s going to be interesting to see how it goes. I still expect the sim racers will be ahead due to their experience and our new teammate Olli will be tough to beat! It’s going to be a question of utilising the short practices as best as possible to learn the circuit, so the gap might not be quite so big. With sim racing getting bigger all the time and more realistic, it’s great to be able to include racers that may not have had the opportunity to compete in normal racing.”
Nick Heidfeld: “It’s great to be in Las Vegas for the eRace and it shows just how much the championship has grown beyond pure on-track competition. Sim racing is very challenging in a completely different way but I am looking forward to competing, and with Olli on the team I think Mahindra has a chance for a top result.”
A word from the top
Dilbagh Gill, Team Principal, Mahindra Racing Formula E Team: “It’s a pleasure to welcome top sim racer Olli to Mahindra Racing, whose performance during the preliminaries was very impressive. Vegas eRace is just another reason why Formula E is an exciting and progressive series! Our regular drivers, Nick and Felix, will have their work cut out for them up against some of the top sim racers in the world. The concept presents an interesting proposition by bringing fans right into the heart of the action and I look forward to seeing the results come Saturday.”
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