Last weekend, we headed to the Gfinity Arena in London to witness a Formula E battle like we’d never seen one before. Bruno Senna and Nico Prost were set to settle a historic rivalry over a game of Forza 6, with an audience of gamer fans who would also compete for the fastest time.
Here’s our report on how the day went down…
After arriving at a shopping centre in Fulham, with the sat nav persistently trying to advise us to head for the nearby cinema, we finally found our way to the Gfinity arena. Upon walking inside, we were greeted with what can only be described as a gamer’s ‘porn room’.
Gfinity’s setup is impressive enough to keep even the most hardcore gaming teenager in his room for life, with the benefit of a cinema-style arena seating layout for crowds to watch the starts at work.
The day started casualy with gamers taking part in qualifying. The game of choice Forza 6, which features all the circuits from the current Formula E calendar. Gamers had the choice of traditional Xbox set up with control pads or they could try their luck with the race driver set up; bucket seat, steering wheel, and pedals.
As the virtual racers blasted through qualifying our stars of the day Senna and Prost were locked away in the press room either playing Fußball or trying to figure out Long Beach on the Xbox. Once qualifying had finished we still needed to whittle the numbers down for the final.
At this point Senna and Prost joined Nicki Shields to give an overview of the semis. This is when we saw the fear in the eyes of professional drivers. Were they about to be embarrassed by a bunch of sofa warriors who were unsurprisingly absolutely annihilating the course?
The semis also featured gamer-turned-Nissan Nismo GT Academy driver Jann Mardenborough. I must say he is more reckless in the game than in real life, but this really brought drama to his semi-final lap. He managed to come from several bad crashes to qualify which was greeted by cheering from the crowd.
Much blood, sweat and tears later, Senna and Prost casually walked down the stairs with Shields to be greeted by an Xbox and the bucket seat set up. A moment of calm was soon followed by chaos as the game well and truly began!
The first corner was a nightmare for both drivers, with Jann taking Senna out and Prost flying into the wall. I wish I could say it got better after this point… But it didn’t. The pressure mounted throughout the laps and pros took the very bottom two places! The winner was 18-year-old Zak Scholes of Ukfield, who pretty much cruised homed!
After Scholes was awarded the winner’s trophy it was time for the much-anticipated race off to begin! Tension had built through the day with the competitor in each driver coming out. As they got going it wasn’t pretty, with collisions and crashs a’plenty from the off. Eventually, Mr Bruno Senna was awarded the very first Formula E #Raceoff champ.
Overall it was a cracking day and showed us all why Formula E is leading the way in interaction, innovation and fun. Everyone left with a smile on their faces (expect Prost).
Thank you for thinking outside the box, Formula E and we look forward to your next fan-based event. In the meantime, let’s hope Senna and Prost have better races in Argentina…