Even though last month’s million dollar Visa Vegas eRace will go down in history as a disastrous one-off event most sim racers would like to forget – painting our favorite line of games out to be visually stunted pieces of unexciting technology – not everyone has come away from the experience believing CloudSport and Formula E conducted a gigantic waste of time and resources. After dominating a large portion of the final race, losing the lead to teammate Oli Pahkala thanks to a poorly constructed mod allowing for six whole laps of the controversial fanboost component, and the FIA awkwardly adjusting the race results after the official trophy celebration had concluded, Team Redline competitor Bono Huis came away from Las Vegas, Nevada with much more than just $200,000 USD in spending money.
Images uploaded today on Team Redline’s official Facebook page have revealed Huis recently completed a private test session in Spain with Formula E team Faraday Future Dragon Racing. Say what you will about Formula E as a series; this guy was allowed to take unrestricted laps in a top level race car all thanks to his accomplishments in a racing simulator. And that’s pretty cool.
However, it’s admittedly very familiar territory for Team Redline, as this isn’t the first time a member of the world’s top sim racing team has been invited to test a real race car thanks to their proficiency on a modern simulator. Greger Huttu’s dominance in any simulator he touched throughout the mid-2000’s landed him a Star Mazda series test session at Road Atlanta while flying under the iRacing promotional banner, though his unfamiliarity with G-Force loads generated in such an agile open wheel race car caused him to lose his lunch after a mere handful of laps. Obviously, Bono would be looking to improve on that kind of performance, especially with a significantly higher caliber team looking on.
Unfortunately, at the moment I’m unable to find any tangible feedback on how Huis performed during the test session at the Calafat circuit in Tarragona, Spain. While any sim racer going out and turning laps in a real car will obviously warrant a miniature celebration within the community, even more important is how well the virtual rendition of the car prepared them for the real thing. After all, this is the entire purpose of a racing simulator. If a sim racer who went out and decimated the entire field in an event conducted by Formula E can’t hold his own in the real deal, it sort of shits on everything the FIA and Formula E were trying to build with their push to make sim racing a stepping stone of sorts for the actual series.
With how much money Visa and the FIA pumped into the Visa Vegas eRace production, I’m sure it’s reasonable to expect that a documentary chronicling Bono’s path to sim racing stardom will surface in the next couple of months – and only then will we find out how much truly did transfer over from the simulator. And with the inevitable short film surrounding the event and subsequent test session undoubtedly in the pipeline, I hope there is a very concrete effort made on part of the directors to discourage certain sim racers from living in a fantasy world, utterly convinced if they sit around and play video games, semi-professional teams will shower them with rookie contracts.
Yesterday evening we ran a somewhat lengthy article profiling sim racing Twitch personality JJacoby88, who has become almost a poster-child of sorts for delusional iRacing members convinced there are top level motorsports scouts privately spectating key races on the service. The pie-in-the-sky fantasies of these people are fueled partially by quasi-promotional endeavors such as GT Academy or the Visa Vegas eRace, and never has a director of the accompanying television footage created to document them made it explicitly clear that these were the absolute best of the best earning a very special opportunity unique to their specific situation; there was a major learning process involved, and not always did they produce results on the race track. It’s certainly not a motorized version of American Idol by any means, and I’m genuinely hopeful that when Formula E upload Bono’s path to the track, it’s not treated as such.
For now, however, a talented member of the sim racing community got to wheel a Formula E ride. PretendRaceCars.net would like to congratulate Bono Huis on his test session with Faraday Future Dragon Racing; we hope you drove your fucking ass off!