Formula E and UNICEF have partnered to create a nine week fundraising esports series, the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge.
Yesterday it was announced that the all-electric series had teamed up with UNICEF to support their global coronavirus appeal to keep children healthy and learning by supporting remote learning programmes, as well as supplying personal protective equipment to frontline health workers.
“We are delighted to see Formula E supporting UNICEF’s response to coronavirus,” said Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships and Philanthropy of Unicef UK, Sarah Ward.
“With huge thanks to the generous donations of our supporters, such as Formula E, UNICEF is proud to continue our life-changing work across the world. Through their much-needed donation, we are able to support children and families across the world by activities including supplying medical equipment and hygiene kits, developing learning resources, delivering prevention campaigns and tackling misinformation.”
Formula E’s CEO, Jamie Reigle, added that “Formula E was founded with a purpose of reducing global climate change by accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles; a mission which aims to provide a safer, cleaner life for future generations.
“Today, we are taking immediate action to protect future generations from a global health emergency. Our partnership with and initial donation to UNICEF are the start of a long-term journey together to protect the health, safety and education of vulnerable children around the world. On behalf of the Formula E ecosystem of teams, manufacturers, drivers, partners and all their staff, we are honoured to support UNICEF and encourage everyone to stay safe and stay home.”
Today, the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge was announced as the partnership’s first collaborative project. The new esports series will see two grids of drivers racing on rFactor 2 in a nine-week championship. One grid will be made up of Formula E drivers while the other will be made up of 18 gamers, who will have to qualify during the week ahead of each round, as well as motorsport people and influencers. The three from the non-Formula E grid will automatically qualify for the following race.
The championship, which will raise both funds and awareness of the UNICEF coronavirus appeal, will take place over eight rounds using the Formula E point scoring system, including pole and fastest lap, while the final race will have double points on offer. The first weekend, this coming Saturday the 18th, will be a pre-season testing event where no points are available.
The race format will be a little different than most other eraces that have been running recently. There will only be one lap for qualifying while the race will use a race royale format, meaning that the last placed driver will be eliminated at the end of each lap until there are only 10 drivers left and then the race becomes a single lap sprint to the chequered flag.
Each two race event will be streamed in a single 90 minute broadcast over Formula E’s social media platforms and the coverage will see the usual team of Jack Nicholls, Dario Franchitti and Nicki Shields will all cover the event from the comfort of their own homes. And the winning gamer will have the chance to drive a real Formula E car at a race weekend in the future.
Commenting on the new series, Jamie Reigle said “We are excited to reveal the first major fundraising initiative of our partnership with UNICEF to support the global coronavirus appeal.
“Formula E is a platform with a purpose to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and combat climate change, therefore we are proud to race for a meaningful cause in gaming realm with the current health crisis in mind.
“The ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge is a powerful sporting manifestation of the UNICEF partnership, supporting our fundraising efforts across the entire Formula E community, offering our fans engaging new content and viewing experiences and getting our teams, drivers and partners back to racing.”
DS Techeetah driver and current season 6 Drivers’ Championship leader, Antonio Felix da Costa added his thoughts on the announcement. “I think this is a fantastic initiative by Formula E to add another esports element to the championship and provide the opportunity of a lifetime for one gamer to get behind the wheel of a real race car.
“Motor racing is actually one of only a few sports with transferable skills across both the real and gaming world. So, it will be interesting to see how we get acclimatised to the conditions. As a driver, naturally we miss racing and I cannot wait to get back on track in a Formula E car. It is also nice to be racing for a good cause and I hope fans will enjoy watching the events from home.”