There are significant similarities between virtual racing and real racing, which explains why simulators are used by both parties.
For the Formula E drivers, the majority of their preparation and training is done in the simulator prior to racing. This is especially the case regarding intelligent use of energy levels. Neel Jani states: “Aspects like battery management are super important. From the simulator, we already know which corners are efficient to be slow or lift off, and which corners are efficient to use your boost energy and where not to.”
Mitchell DeJong adds: “You have some energy management in the sim – saving at the right points, using it in battles – so it’s a whole other aspect to just driving. It’s a significant tool and the great drivers have that in the back of their mind.”
The sims are used by the Formula E drivers to get into racing during the off season. It helped André Lotterer to get back up to speed at the beginning of his Formula E career: “Everything started in the simulator to learn all about Formula E: the different functions, different modes, understanding the whole logic behind managing the race in terms of following the energy consumption.”
It’s not all about dry training runs either. Competing in sim racing against other human players can provide incredible tension. Despite having a decorated racing career, Neel Jani still gets a good kick of adrenaline from sim racing. His conclusion after competing in a simulated Formula E race on stage at the Porsche booth: “The car-to-car, with slipstreaming, is like how I raced in real life – I felt at home with the close racing. Tension builds, without a doubt. You really hold the steering wheel, you have tension, the adrenaline comes, and that’s the fun part. It’s the competition you enjoy and in the racing sim, you still get that.”