Audi Sport ace, Kelvin van der Linde, will add virtual racing to his portfolio in 2021.
Although racing is once again getting back on track in 2021, virtual racing will remain a fixture this year, with Audi unleashing some serious talent on the series.
29 January, 2021
Although Formula E racing is back in 2021, organisers have also retained the virtual format given it's success in 2020
He’s already had a busy start to 2021 with a second place in the Dubai 24 Hours, but Audi Sport driver Kelvin van der Linde, will be adding another race series in 2021 – albeit a virtual one – getting underway today.
In addition to his other considerable driving duties for Audi Sport this year, the 24-year-old South African will also represent Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler in the ‘Formula E Accelerate’ series, a six race virtual Formula E program with 100,000 Euros in prize money.
The virtual format for Formula E was of course kicked off last year in response to the COVID-19 restrictions and to ensure the racing continued virtually while the real cars were off the track. So successful was that format, that even with the new season of Formula E just four weeks from starting, organisers decided to retain the virtual component which attracted more than 70 million video views in 150 markets, plus several thousand articles in online and print media last year.
The virtual driving duties represent something of a departure for Kelvin van der Linde whose impressive record to date includes wins in the Suzuka 10 Hours, dual California 8 hour victories as well as first in the gruelling 24 Hours of Nurburgring – all in the Audi R8 LMS GT3. He is an ADAC GT Champion and has also won races in the Australian GT Championship in the past.
Last year he also got behind the wheel of the Audi e-tron FE06 race car for the FIA Formula E rookie test day in Marrakesh and remains the Audi Sport Schaeffler Formula E reserve driver for the coming season, stepping into the new Audi e-tron FE07 car should Lucas di Grassi or Rene Rast be unable to take part.
As part of those duties, he is no stranger to working with the driving simulator which is an integral part of the Formula E training and development regimen, so the idea of sim racing is certainly not alien to him.
“I’m really looking forward to representing Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler in the virtual world,” says van der Linde.
“In February and March, it’s still a bit quieter on the real race tracks, so it’s a great opportunity to put on a good show in other ways for the fans at home. Last year, I also competed virtually against the Formula E drivers and now it’s against real eSports racers. I’m excited to see how we will do.”
In the Formula E Accelerate series, van der Linde will be competing against both nominated drivers from the other teams and the best drivers from an open qualifier recently held online.
Each of the Formula E Accelerate races, which last for around 25 minutes, will be broadcast as part of a 90-minute TV show that also features Formula E drivers, team principals and other guests. All of the events will be shown live on the Formula E’s social media channels and streaming platforms.
Kelvin van der Linde is no stranger to working with the driving simulator which is an integral part of the Formula E training and development regimen
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