A lineup of 20 Formula E drivers fought wheel-to-wheel on the virtual streets of the Monaco E-Prix circuit, at the pre-season round ahead of nine races to follow.
The Stay At Home Challenge coincides with the resort to esports to provide some close on-track action from series’ such as Formula 1, IndyCar and Nascar.
The esports series has been launched as a fundraiser for UNICEF, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Taking place on rFactor 2, there are two fields of cars in play: one full of the real-life Formula E drivers and another with a mix of sim-racing stars like Jimmy Broadbent and ‘Super GT’, alongside semi-professional pro racing drivers like Dani Juncadella.
Prior to the race, Group Qualifying takes place in typical Formula E fashion where drivers are grouped via their championship order and will do so for the next nine races – single lap runs by each of them would determine their positions.
The race itself runs as a 15 lap race amongst Formula E whereby the drivers in last positions are eliminated on a per lap basis until the top-10 positions are left to fight until the finish.
This race was a pre-season round, meaning that no championship points were on offer just yet.
As they full series begins in a week’s time, the top 18 drivers in qualifying will be the ones who will participate in the race.
The races will follow the usual top-ten points format with a point available for fastest qualifying lap and lap time in the race itself.
Looking at the round of Formula E drivers, the end of group qualifying saw Maximilian Gunther qualify on Pole Position ahead of Mercedes-Benz EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne and TAG Heuer Porsche’s Andre Lotterer.
As the lights went green, Max and Stoffel caught a smooth getaway whilst Jean-Eric Vergne attempted a brave move at the first corner, but JEV made it past Lotterer.
By the end of the first lap, JEV was ahead of his former team-mate.
The first few laps saw a handful of chaotic overtakes and incidents, but soon calmed down afterwards.
At turn three, Lotterer pulls a robust manoeuvre on JEV that allows both himself and Nick Cassidy (Envision Virgin Racing) to get past.
Nyck De Vries, Mercedes-Benz EQ, was the first to be eliminated after falling behind Lucas Di Grassi and Alexander Sims.
The race continued with the first lap chaos behind, seeing the drivers settle into the race and race the eliminations.
Only a small incident left Robin Frijns to loose his comfortable P6 and fall outside the top ten; track positions remained steady from this point.
Without making any major mistakes between them, Stoffel and Max had established their own gap from turn one and were only separated by 0.700 seconds as they crossed the finish line.
BMW i Andretti Motorsport, Mercedes-Benz EQ, and TAG Heuer Porsche made it three German-giants to grasp podium finishes.
— ABB Formula E (@FIAFormulaE) April 18, 2020
Max Gunther reflected on his win: “(It was) a clean one and I really enjoyed it – I’m really happy to win the first virtual Formula E race.”
— TAG Heuer Porsche FE Team (@PorscheFormulaE) April 18, 2020
As regular stars in the All-Star (virtual racing) Series hosted by The Race, Max and Stoffel controlled the race at the front of the field; Max won in the All-Star race that followed straight after this event.
This. Was. Close!! 🤏😅
— Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team (@MercedesEQFE) April 18, 2020
|Formula E Race at Home Challenge – 2020 Calendar|
|Date||Race||Time (British Summer Time)|
|April 18||Pre-Season Test Round||15:30 BST|
|April 25||Round 1||15:30 BST|
|May 2||Round 2||15:30 BST|
|May 9||Round 3||15:30 BST|
|May 16||Round 4||15:30 BST|
|May 23||Round 5||15:30 BST|
|May 30||Round 6||15:30 BST|
|June 6||Round 7||15:30 BST|
|June 7||Round 8 – Grand Final||15:30 BST|