As an avid esports competitor himself, reigning ABB FIA Formula E Champion Antonio Felix da Costa is more than familiar with many of the world-class sim racing stars set to line-up in Formula E: Accelerate, starting this Thursday.
The Portuguese is anticipating the virtual world drawing ever closer to the real thing this week, with the addition of energy management and ATTACK MODE into the mix for Formula E: Accelerate - the championship's new esports series - which uses rFactor 2's new 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship DLC.
Da Costa is eager to find out how the a field brimming with world-class sim racers manages with the changes, and says the added realism will open up a window as to the in-cockpit challenges over a race weekend in Formula E.
"Bringing in the key factors like ATTACK MODE and energy management is great for the fans," said the 29-year-old reigning Formula E champ. "They’ll hear us talking about it on a race weekend and hear me saying ‘I’m saving here, I’m pushing there’ and it’s really going to bring them the full picture of what we have to do in the car.
"It will also show how much you can gain or lose if you manage things properly, or not so well. It’s going to be interesting to see how these sim racing drivers and the fans get on when they try to go through all those processes.
"I’m a big fan of sim racing and computer games. I play them myself, and I compete in a lot of esports races. It’s a great way of bringing our championship and our platform even closer to the fans. Whoever wants to be involved can be – they can pick whoever their favourite driver’s car is and they can drive it. It’s amazing."
Da Costa has been a part of several esports competitions in the past year, from Le Mans to US open-wheelers, as motorsport embraced the virtual world in the midst of the global health crisis and lockdown life.
Of course, the DS TECHEETAH racer also took part in the Race at Home Challenge, and his experience illustrated the extreme level at which the professional sim racers compete - often performing beyond even his capabilities.
"I’m a big fan of some of the guys that’ll be competing," he said. "I follow it closely and I know who the best guys in the world are at the moment. Three, four or five years ago I thought I’d never meet them but their profile and the profile of sim racing is so much higher now.
"For us at DS TECHEETAH, one of our simulator drivers is Arthur Lehouck. He’s one of the best in the world, and every time I go to him I keep asking for tips to make myself better in sim racing and it’s so interesting going to him for advice and vice versa when he has to drive our real car.
"These guys will get a chance to drive the Gen2 with the prize, and it’ll be really intriguing to see how they get on when they swap the sim for the real thing.
"I have no chance up against these guys in esports. They’re going to kick my butt very hard which makes me angry! I tried to improve and ultimately, I just don’t have the patience to spend the time practicing.
"You need hours and hours but I get frustrated when I’m still slow and not quick enough! So, for me, it’s for fun. I race people like Robin Frijns because they’re similar to me and spend a similar amount of time in the sim. I can beat them and go to bed happy!"
Published on 25th January 2021