Formula E has introduced a six-round esports competition for which every full-time entrant will receive a share of a €100,000 prize fund, with the winner winning a real-life car test.
The new Accelerate series follows on from the Formula E Race at Home Challenge, a virtual championship introduced during the first peek of the global health crisis last year.
Accelerate will feature a complete 24-car virtual grid and run on the Factor 2 gaming platform using simulations of real-world FE street circuits.
Ahead of the first event, a qualifying session – now in progress and running until 23.59 on 13 January – open to everyone will be held on a virtual Tempelhof Airport circuit in Berlin, the venue of the six-race 2019-20 season finale.
The sim racers who set the top-three fastest times are guaranteed a spot in the Accelerate competition, although FE has said this is the minimum number of people who will advance.
Every driver will race and score points for a real-world FE team, from which they will obtain tips, mentoring, and “other talent development opportunities”.
The online 25-minute races, which feature as part of 90-minute broadcasts, will now also integrate energy management and Attack Mode, whereby drivers can enable a higher power mode.
For participants who reach any one of the six rounds, with the finale worth double points, they are guaranteed a share of a minimum prize pool of €100,000.
While the flagship Race at Home Challenge was contested by all participating FE drivers last year, a concurrent competition for sim racers also took place.
Similar to that aspect of the championship last year, the overall champion will receive a real-world test of the Gen2 FE car.
For the fourth and last round, two additional races will be held – each one featuring 12 real-life FE drivers.
Mercedes racer Stoffel Vandoorne, who won the Race at Home Challenge, said: “Formula E continues to create opportunities for fans and the next generation of racing drivers to get involved with the sport, and Formula E Accelerate will see a number of improvements that bring us closer to the real-life experience since our last event.
“Having won the Formula E Race Home Challenge, I learned how competitive and demanding it is to race at such a high standard on a regular basis.
“This time there will be an extra challenge, having to contend with the introduction of energy management and Attack Mode – something even I haven’t tried yet – so it will be interesting to see how drivers manage.”