With the ABB Formula E season now suspended until at least June, teams and drivers joined the growing Esports community for the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge Test Round, arranged to raise money in support of UNICEF in the fight against the global coronavirus pandemic.
Because not all Formula E drivers are familiar with Esports, simulator rigs were shipped to the homes of many of the participants at short notice, so they could practice and get familiar with the vagaries of the game.
It proved an entertaining race around the shortened Monaco circuit and it was no surprise that the more familiar gamers in Maximilian Guenther and fellow Esports fan Stoffel Vandoorne battled it out for the race win, Santiago e-Prix winner Guenther coming out on top with Andre Lotterer third for Porsche.
First win in the first ever virtual @fiaformulae race🏆 Can’t wait for more racing at home 💪#RaceatHome #StayHome #MAXG #RacingBeyond #ABBFormulaE pic.twitter.com/Hbsk85zSwF
— Maximilian Günther (@maxg_official) April 18, 2020
First Sim Race, First Sim Podium🥈
Hope you enjoyed today's test event! We will be back in just 1️⃣ week for the first race of ABB @FIAFormula's #RaceAtHome Challenge. pic.twitter.com/0k1bCKipYz
— Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team (@MercedesEQFE) April 18, 2020
Veloce Esports co-founder Jean-Eric Vergne was also initially in the hunt for a podium, despite also being new to Esports gaming, having qualified fourth and jumping to third before a spin at the apex of Rascasse dropped him from contention and an eventual eighth, ahead of Jann Mardenbourough and Oliver Turvey.
Thanks guys! See you next Saturday for Round 1 #RaceAtHome (it’s also my 30th bday 🎂) @DSTECHEETAH @DS_Performance and don’t forget to make a donation if you can, even the smallest gesture will make the difference @UNICEF https://t.co/KbiUM32VKK pic.twitter.com/RPKkU1q24E
— Jean-Eric Vergne (@JeanEricVergne) April 18, 2020
Nick Cassidy, driving in place of Sam Bird, was fourth for Envision Virgin Racing, ahead of Nico Muller, Oliver Rowland and Mitch Evans.
“Firstly, I would like to thank Formula E for organizing the Race at Home initiative, it was fantastic to be able to compete in my first eRace from home!” commented NIO 333 FE Team driver Turvey. “It was a really fun race, whilst it’s not the same as driving the real car, it was nice to be able to get back into a competitive mindset and to be able to race against all the other Formula E drivers. Considering I only got my sim set up yesterday, I was satisfied to make up a lot of positions and to finish my first eRace inside the top ten!”
With the drivers racing rigs now installed, the first of eight points-paying race is scheduled for next Saturday.