"Race at Home Challenge" of Formula E
The "ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge in Support of UNICEF" was an esports series launched by Formula E in mid-April 2020. The virtual racing league consisted of a test run and eight championship races, held between April 18th and June 7th, 2020. With the Race at Home Challenge (RaHC), Formula E shifted the racing action to the virtual space, as the real 2019/20 season was interrupted for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the RaHC was not related to the actual season but had its own championship ranking.
In the Race at Home Challenge, Formula E relied on two separate participant groups. Almost all official regular drivers of the FIA series competed personally against each other in the field of Formula E pilots. In contrast, 18 sim racers per race started in the "Challenger" field, having qualified for the event in a publicly accessible online time trial the previous week. The top 10 of a race automatically received a starting permit for the next race. Besides sim racers, several prominent guests and additional wildcard winners were also part of this field.
With the esports series, Formula E drew attention to its new partnership with UNICEF and raised donations. These were used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for the health and education of children. The stated goal of the fundraising campaign was £100,000.
|9||Antonio Felix da Costa||DS||30|
|13||Kelvin van der Linde||Audi||22|
|16||Nyck de Vries||Mercedes||18|
|20||Ma Qing Hua||Nio||2|
|24||Lucas di Grassi||Audi||0|
Calendar, Dates & Tracks of Race at Home Challenge
The Race at Home Challenge took place over eight consecutive weekends. After a test run on April 18, the actual championship started on April 25, 2020. The final of the RaHC was held as a double-header, with two races on one weekend. The two final races, in which double points were at stake, took place on June 6 and 7, 2020.
|30.05.2020||Race 6||New York City|
|06.06.2020||Race 7||New York City|
Schedule for all Races of Race at Home Challenge
The Formula E had developed a schedule that applied equally to every race of the Race at Home Challenge. The broadcast always started at 4:30 pm (CEST). In detail, the individual sessions were scheduled as follows:
- 4:30 pm - Program start
- 4:40 pm - "Challenge Grid" qualifying
- 5:00 pm - "Challenge Grid" race
- 5:20 pm - "Formula E Drivers" qualifying
- 5:35 pm - "Formula E Drivers" race
Live Streams of Race at Home Challenge
The virtual races of the RaHC were broadcasted on various platforms. The Formel E provided live streams on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch. In addition, the Eurosport Player was also available. The races could be watched with German commentary on the website of ran. Furthermore, e-Formel.de provided a live stream with the original English sound for each race on its website.
In the "world feed" of the Formel E, commentator Jack Nicholls, pit reporter Nicki Shields, and IndyCar legend Dario Franchitti as an expert led the program - just like on real race weekends. The German live stream at ran was commented by Tobi Schimon.
Race Formate & Mode of Race at Home Challenge
The Race at Home Challenge used the "Battle Royale" mode as its race format: Beginning with the end of the second lap, the last-placed driver was eliminated from the race each lap, reducing the field as the race progressed until only twelve pilots were left to fight for the win or the points positions in the final lap. The Attack Mode was not used, nor was the FANBOOST.
Before the race, each participant had exactly one qualifying lap to secure a good starting position. Formula E divided the field into four groups of six, as in the usual qualifying format at the time. However, there was no Super Pole session. The deciding factor for the starting position was the lap time from the group phase. In the last two races, there was no qualifying - the top 24 drivers started in reverse order of their championship positions.
Scoring System of Race at Home Challenge
The Race at Home Challenge was based on a separate championship table created by Formula E, using the well-known FIA points distribution for the top ten drivers (25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1). Additionally, there was one point each for the fastest race lap and pole position. In contrast to real Formula E, the race for starting position 1 already took place in the group phase - there was no Super Pole session. Therefore, the three extra points for Super Pole were also not awarded.
Double points were awarded on the last race weekend of the Race at Home Challenge to keep the championship as open as possible until the end.
Software & Hardware for Race at Home Challenge
The Race at Home Challenge was carried out in the rFactor 2 simulation software. All racers competed in Gen2 vehicles with current liveries. The damage simulation was set to 80 percent. Thus, contact with the wall or other vehicles had an impact on the handling and ultimately the result.
The hardware was also the same for all participants: all Formula E pilots received professional simulators from Formula E, including a Playseat, Fanatec steering wheels and pedals, as well as gaming PCs, monitors, headphones, and other peripherals from Asus.