Formula E launches new Esports series, offers real-life test

Matt Kew
·2-min read

The new Accelerate series follows on from the Formula E Race at Home Challenge, a virtual championship launched during the first peak of the global health crisis last year. 

Accelerate will feature a full 24-car virtual grid and run on the rFactor 2 gaming platform using simulations of real-world FE street circuits. 

Ahead of the first race, a qualifying session - now in progress and running until 23.59 on 13 January - open to all will be held on a virtual Tempelhof Airport circuit in Berlin, the site of the six-race 2019-20 season finale. 

The sim racers who set the top-three fastest times are guaranteed a spot in the Accelerate competition, although FE has said this is the minimum number of people who will progress. 

Each driver will race and score points for a real-world FE team, from which they will receive tips, mentoring and “other talent development opportunities”.  

The online 25-minute races, which feature as part of 90-minute broadcasts, will now also incorporate energy management and Attack Mode, whereby drivers can activate a higher power mode. 

For participants who enter every one of the six rounds, with the finale worth double points, they are guaranteed a share of a minimum prize pool of €100,000. 

Although the flagship Race at Home Challenge was contested by all active FE drivers last year, a concurrent competition for sim racers also took place. 

Similar to that element of the championship last year, the overall champion will receive a real-world test of the Gen2 FE car.  

For the fourth and last round, two additional races will be held - each one featuring 12 real-life FE drivers. 

Mercedes racer Stoffel Vandoorne, who won the Race at Home Challenge, said: “Formula E continues to create opportunities for fans and the next generation of racing drivers to get involved with the sport, and Formula E Accelerate will see a number of improvements that bring us closer to the real-life experience since our last event.  

“Having won the Formula E Race Home Challenge, I learnt how competitive and demanding it is to race at such a high standard on a regular basis. 

“This time there will be an extra challenge, having to contend with the introduction of energy management and Attack Mode - something even I haven’t tried yet - so it will be interesting to see how drivers manage.”