How good was the $200,000 Virtual Visa Vegas e-Race?
As most of you will know by now, yesterday the FIA Formula E Championship which is the world’s first fully-electric racing series, held its Visa Vegas e-Race where 20 leading professional Formula E drivers competed against a selection of 10 sim racers who qualified themselves via the Road to Vegas Challenge, organized by Cloud Sport.
To make things a little more serious than it sounds, the organizers and sponsors shelled out a $1 million prize pot to be divided by the contenders, making it the biggest prize in eSports racing history.
We will not go into the details of the full race, as many media outlets have already covered this, but in a nutshell, this is what happened. At a packed Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas and in front of roughly 12.500 live-stream viewers, a selection of top real-world and sim racers competed in the inaugural $1 million Visa Vegas e-Race.
After a surprisingly exciting battle, between Dutch sim racer Bono Huis and Swedish Formula E racing driver Felix Rosenqvist, who ran most of the race in respectively first and second position, the Finnish Sim racer Olli Pahkala surprised the leading duo when they went into the pits for their mandatory stop. In the background, Olli Pahkala who was on a different strategy had pitted early and made clever use of his Fanboost feature. While Huis and Rosenqvist were sitting in the pits, Pahkala took first place and the $10.000 fasted lap with only five laps to go.
Olli Pahkala cruised to the finish line while Bono Huis had to put up a fight to keep hard-charging Felix Rosenqvist from taking the second place. At this point, we had been enjoying a surprisingly exciting sim race and yours truly has to admit that his initial doubts about the quality of the race were unfounded.
Then it all started to go a little bit wrong.
When the award ceremony started it became clear that something weird was going on. The presenting hosts seemed to have trouble getting the top-3 racers to the podium. When Olli Pahkala eventually came on stage, he appeared to be a little confused and almost seemed the be reluctant to take the $200,000 first price. After even a longer wait, Dutchman Bono Huis came on stage to receive his $100,000 prize for coming in second. He was clearly not amused and his facial expressions led us to believe there was something not quite right. With a third place, professional Formula E racing driver Felix Rosenqvist was best-performing racing driver. He could still take home a cool $50,000.
Not long after the live-stream ended, rumors started to appear on various social media channels claiming that during the race Olli Pahkala had received an unfair FanBoost advantage due to a glitch in the software. It was also made clear that this was at no point the choice or fault of Olli Pahkala but a purely technical issue.
Later on, the sanctioning body of the Visa Vegas e-Race confirmed that after careful deliberation, they handed Olli Pahkala a 12-second penalty, meaning that Bono Huis was pronounced the real winner and was able to take home the $200,000 prize for first place. Felix Rosenqvist was promoted to the $100,000 step of the podium while initial winner Olli Pahkala was classified third and saw his earning drop by a whopping $160.000. This must have been an emotional rollercoaster for all three finalists.
Despite its controversiality and some technical difficulties, it is safe to say that this particular race will have an impact on the future of competitive sim-racing. Organizer Cloud Sport dubbed the event ‘The biggest sim race of all time’. While we surely enjoyed the concept, the overall sim racing community opinions seemed to be divided. We have witnessed numerous online discussions and chats regarding pro’s and con’s of the prize money, choice of sim-platform, graphics and mod quality, advertising, promotion and more.
We are eager to hear your personal opinion. So if you dare to share your personal thoughts, let us know in the comment section. So if you dare to share your personal thoughts, let us know in the comment section.
|1||Bono Huis||Faraday Future Dragon Racing||1st||$200,000 + $25,000 (Pole)|
|2||Felix Rosenqvist||Mahindra Racing||2nd||$100,000|
|3||Olli Pahkala||Mahindra Racing||6th||$50,000|
|5||Aleksi Uusi-Jaakkola||Andretti Formula E||3rd||$35,000|
|6||GregerHuttu||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||8th||$32,500|
|7||Jose Maria Lopez||DS Virgin Racing||12th||$30,000|
|8||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing||15th||$27,500|
|9||DanielAbt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||19th||$25,000|
|10||Nelson Piquet Jr||NextEV Nio||14th||$22,500|
Places 11th to 30th received $20,000. Fastest lap was rewarded with $10,000.
|Official Webpage – roadtovegas.cloudsport.club|