One of the hot topics of 2017 is the Formula E Vegas Visa E-Race, which saw 20 racers racing for a $200,000 first prize. While the race did have some hiccups, it was very solid in concept, and I’d say contributed to some more exposure to what Sim Racing is. Now, we are seeing the possibility of other series entering the mix! While there has been some speculation on when/if Formula E may get a full series, there may be a chance we could see E-Racing in Formula One!
Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost has gone on record, talking about how he feels an E-Race could bring a boost to the sport:
“We must improve the show itself, We must bring in the young peoples’ interest, for example with E-games. Why not have Sunday morning an eGame with a big broadcast where people worldwide are involved to increase the interest?
The eGame would work simply in that there’s a game and companies would be involved in eGames and say look. For example, we race in Abu Dhabi with exhibitions from different countries and let’s see where they end up. Young people are not so much interested in cars and we must see a way to bring them into Formula 1.”
-Franz Tost (From Autosport Article)
On Sunday mornings in a Formula One race weekend, there is usually nothing going on (F1 races generally start in the afternoon). An e-race could be a great time filler, and would give Sim Racing a pedestal on one of racing’s largest stages.
This could also be an interesting opportunity to get a closer look at aspiring talent. If you mixed in Sim Racers with GP2/Formula 3 drivers, that could give that real vs. virtual dynamic as well.
While there is no confirmation of the possibility of this actually happening, there is reason to be optimistic. Formula One was recently acquired by Liberty Media, who has stated that they would like to expand the appeal of the sport to younger fans. As mentioned by Tost, an E-Race could possibly see that exposure being spread.
Now the question remains, what title/platform would be used to power the series? My gut tells me that, realistically, we would see a Codemasters title powering the series if we got one. My main reason for deducting that is, while the physics aren’t at the full-caliber simulation level, it has just about everything else. It has all of the circuits on the F1 roster, it has all the cars. I believe it even has a setting to even out the performance of all the cars. This would be the most viable option. My dream idea would be having a solid developer using rFactor 2 for the development, and having all the cars and tracks made (at a high quality!!). But time will tell, and first, there would even need to BE a series.
This is an exciting idea, and I would love to see Formula One branch out! What do you think?