With the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) coming to an end, the FIA’s Formula E, the first fully electric racing series, will host a race that will see 30 people compete for a massive $1,000,000 prize, the biggest in eSports racing history. That is correct—eSports. Unlike other Formula E races that occur on real street circuits around the world, the Las Vegas eRace will pit 20 professional Formula E drivers against 10 expert simulation racers.
Competitors will use a racing simulation cockpit, and will receive two practice sessions, a brief initial qualifying round, and a second qualifying race. The top-10 qualifiers will compete head-to-virtual-head in a 28 lap finale.
The track, a one-off design based on the streets of Las Vegas, incorporates much of The Strip’s landmarks. The drivers will compete from the safe and warm confines of The Venetian Hotel this Saturday, January 7 at 4:00 p.m. PST.
Speaking to CNN, Nelson Piquet Jr., professional race-car driver and son of three-time F1 champion Nelson Piquet, said, “This is an amazing idea and a fantastic new concept and I’m so excited. I think it’s brilliant what Formula E is doing combining the worlds of real and virtual races and bringing such a big prize money to eSports.”
The $1,000,000 prize will be divided among the competitors as follows; 1st $200,000, 2nd $100,000, 3rd $50,000, 4th $42,500, 5th $35,000, 6th $32,500, 7th $30,000, 8th $27,500, 9th $25,000, 10th $22,500, 11th-30th $20,000, Pole $25,000, and the driver who completes the fastest lap will get an additional $10,000.
Fans will be able to watch the race through the video game streaming service Twitch.
Formula E’s real season began in early October, with the next race occurring in Buenos Aires on February 18. The Renault E.Dams squad holds the teams’ championship lead, as well as the drivers’ championship lead with ex-F1 racer Sebastien Buemi. Both of E.Dams’ leads are nearly double the points of second place ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport and the driver Lucas Di Grassi.
This year will also mark the inaugural New York City Formula E race that will take place in Brooklyn July 15-16. The track will loop around the Cruise Ship Terminal, go past Pier 11, pass the Statue of Liberty, Governor’s Island, and brush up against the southernmost part of Manhattan.