Monday, 9 January 2017

Sim racing hits the big time with the $1 million Vegas eRace

Zak Mauger/LAT

With a total prize purse of $1 million, the Visa Vegas eRace, which took place on Saturday in Las Vegas, was the most lucrative sim racing competition yet. As well as big cash prizes—including $200,000 for first place in the final—it had plenty of support from the owners, teams, and sponsors of the Formula E racing series. And the event delivered racing excitement, with stiff competition between professional drivers and some of the world's best sim racers. But the result wasn't without controversy, and the sim of choice—rFactor 2—drew plenty of complaints from spectators.

All 20 professional Formula E drivers took part, along with 10 leading sim racers, one assigned to each of the 10 race teams. They raced on a virtual 3.13-mile (5km) circuit that snaked through the sights of the Las Vegas Strip. No one got to see the 20-turn track until the day before the race, and each would use an identically set-up Formula E car, identical PlaySeats and Thrustmaster wheels, and rFactor 2 as the platform. Broadcast live on Twitch, the racers put on an entertaining show, even if it wasn't entirely trouble-free.

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