Photo: Alastair Staley/FIA ABB Formula E (Getty Images)
Formula E has announced that it’s getting serious about not just electric racing but eSport racing, with its new Accelerate series standing as an online counterpart to its real-life events. And the prize is formidable. Not only does the winner take home $122,000, but the Accelerate champion will get their own test in a real life Formula E car.
Last year, FE launched the Race at Home Challenge as a way to keep fans involved in the racing action during the pandemic. The Accelerate series is an extension of that—it’ll host 24 racers on the rFactor platform, where FE’s street circuits are simulated.
The Accelerate season will last for six races that each run 25 minutes and will be contested by sim racers determined by a qualifier event that takes place on January 13, 2021. (If you want to sign up, you can do so here.) The sim racers who set the top three times are guaranteed to get into the championship, and the rest will be selected by teams.
Those drivers will ultimately be paired up with those real-world teams, for whom they’ll score points and by whom they’ll be mentored regarding strategies and tactics—which those sim racers will need, since they’ll be following all of FE’s rules, including the utilization of Attack Mode. It’s a great way for prospective professional sim racers to forge close ties with real teams in the hope of continuing that relationship later on.
The eSports drivers might have it far better in 2021 than their real-life counterparts; with countless FE races already being postponed before the season has even kicked off, the most racing we might see from that camp will be its online events. And with the opportunity to test a real Formula E car, we could even see our first sim-to-FE swap in the next few years.