Formula E virtual race ends in controversy

Sun Jan 8, 2017 8:46am EST
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(Reuters) - Dutch SIM racer Bono Huis collected a $200,000 jackpot, the biggest prize in eSports racing history, after winning the first virtual race between drivers from the Formula E electric series and gamers in Las Vegas.

The Saturday evening showdown at the resort's Venetian Hotel ended with a typical motor racing controversy and Huis declared winner only after rival gamer Olli Pahkala had already celebrated victory.

The virtual 'eRace', which does not count towards the Formula E championship, took place at the CES consumer electronics Show and featured 20 race drivers and 10 gamers with matching equipment.

All wore flame-proof race suits, despite competing in a virtual world, as if driving actual cars.

The gamers, who compete online in virtual series such as iRacing and Formula Sim Racing, earned their places in a Road to Vegas challenge and were paired with the 10 Formula E teams.

Pahkala had crossed the virtual finish line first but was later found to have gained an advantage through a software glitch that enabled him to use the sport's 'fanboost' feature for longer than permitted.

Stewards handed the Finn a 12-second penalty after a post-race investigation, demoting him to third and behind Mahindra Racing's Swedish racer Felix Rosenqvist, the 2015 European F3 champion and best-placed Formula E driver.

Huis, 21, also took an additional $25,000 for securing pole position in an event boasting a total prize pot of $1 million.

Even the lowest finisher was guaranteed $20,000 -- almost as much as the total prize fund in the biggest online racing competition.   Continued...