Mahindra Racing collects double podium at first virtual Vegas eRace

By Kent Whitaker
Jan. 08, 2017

OFFICIAL RELEASE - 7 January 2017, Las VegasMahindra Racing took a double podium and a large portion of the biggest ever prize in sim racing today at CES in Las Vegas. In addition Felix Rosenqvist took second place against a field including 10 of the world’s top sim racers. Due to a technical glitch, Olli Pahkala was given a post race penalty to finish third.

Mahindra Racing is celebrating a double podium tonight with a healthy portion of the $1 million prize from the first ever-Formula E Vegas eRace. Finishing second, Rosenqvist out performed the entire Formula E contingent to challenge for victory in a close race against pro sim racer Bono Huis (Dragon Racing) in the 20-lap virtual event. The prize money on offer has made history as the biggest sim race to date.

With $200k on the line for first place, $100k for second and $50k for third, Mahindra’s allocated sim racer Finn Olli Pahkala pitted early during the race and picked his way through the field to the front. Unfortunately, due to a software glitch, Pahkala was given a post race penalty to finish third behind Rosenqvist.

In qualifying, Rosenqvist set the fastest lap time only to be pipped at the last moment by Huis. It was made more impressive by the fact that he was the only Formula E driver to qualify in the top 10 and automatically progress to front row for the main event. Joining him was Mahindra Racing’s sim racer Olli Pahkala, who qualified sixth.

A small mistake for Nick Heidfeld damaged the rear wing of his virtual M3Electro and hampered his race qualifying effort. He competed in the Qualifying Race and gained some positions to work his way up from 20th to 14th (effectively 24th overall).

The FIA Formula E Championship returns to real world racing next month for the Buenos Aires ePrix on Saturday 18 February, when Mahindra Racing will challenge for its third championship podium in a row on temporary street circuits in city centres.

Felix Rosenqvist: “Overall this Vegas eRace was a very different experience! You could tell that the sim racing environment was something very new to all of us, as we are used to being strapped into an actual car and not sitting in front of a lot of people. In the end it worked out very well for me and I was up the front in every session. Luckily, in the final I started from the front row and had a very clean race with a long first stint, without any traffic and I was able to cruise to the podium in P2. I hope I can do more races like this in the future! Now we will celebrate a little!”

Olli Pahkala: “In the end, P3 was more than welcome for me. It’s been a blast! I made some mistakes in the practice session preparation which cost me pace later on and P3 is more than fair for everyone with what happened. The event has been something unique and has really pushed the sport to the next level. It’s huge for Formula E, but it’s really massive for all of the sim racers around the world. The two worlds belong together and it’s good to see the sports develop with an event like this.”

Nick Heidfeld: “I enjoyed it more than I expected! It was more fun and a bit different to what we normally do at the Formula E races. Of course, congratulations to Olli and especially to Felix who did an amazing job against the pro sim drivers. If we have another event like this, I will definitely prepare for it. It might be interesting now to see people from Formula E and wider motorsport start to follow sim racing – and vice versa, combining those two worlds.”

Dilbagh Gill, Team Principal, Mahindra Racing Formula E Team: “A double podium for Mahindra Racing is a fantastic result and it was particularly impressive to see Felix right at the front of the pack challenging the sim racers. He was the only Formula E driver to qualify in the top ten and then put in a super pole performance that put him on the front row. We knew that Olli was going to be an asset to the team from the start and congratulations to him for third place. I look forward to maybe seeing Formula E and sim racing progress further together in the future.”

SOURCE: Mahindra Racing