FE eyes full eSports series after Vegas test

FE eyes full eSports series after Vegas test
By AutoSport

30/12/2016 at 12:57

Formula E's major sim-racing event in Las Vegas next month will act as a litmus test for the championship to introduce an official eSports division in the future.

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All 20 FE drivers will contest the Vegas eRace, plus 10 gamers who earned the right to participate over a series of qualifying events.

Those gamers have all been assigned a competing FE team to represent, and this could form the basis of a professional eSports element within the series.

"We're definitely looking at that option," series CEO Alejandro Agag told Autosport in Marrakech last month. "Vegas is the beginning, it will be very interesting to analyse how the whole thing works.

"From there we'll make decisions."

DS Virgin Racing has been assigned top qualifier Graham Carroll, a leading Formula Ford 1600 driver in Britain, and the Scot has already met with Sam Bird and begun 'training' for the event.

Team boss Alex Tai said gamers should be paid if the series does introduce a full eSports championship and said DS Virgin would fully embrace such an initiative.

"It's a lovely idea," he said. "There will be an awful lot of learning there but we very much welcome that idea.

"I would like to run a competition within DS to try and find a driver within us.

"It's really nice to have the gamers coming along [but] it's far more open if everyone can apply."

Mahindra boss Dilbagh Gill said the nature of the electric single-seater series meant it was perfectly placed to trial events like Vegas and a bigger eSports investment in general.

He said FE was a "lower risk" for owner Liberty Global to try something different within motorsport, instead of sister company Liberty Media pursuing the idea with Formula 1.

"It is huge," he said. "We are really supportive of it and we definitely it's a strong income stream for the championship.

"We need to monetise as early as possible. FE is a more natural fit.

"We need to start talking and get people interested in it."