Professional Race Car Driver Hires Expert Gamer To Race His Video Game Car

from the rat-race dept

The esports momentum due to the COVID-19 pandemic isn't slowing down. And one of things many people are learning now that they're either spectating or participating in esports for the first time is just how hard it is to be really, really good in these competitions. The days that bore the cliches about unskilled gamers slothing in their parent's basement are long gone, replaced by corporate sponsorships for sold out events in full-scale arenas. In the absence of traditional IRL sports at the moment, many professional athletes are now getting into esports as well, with autoracing having led the way.

And now, in an occurrence that basically had to happen, we have our first instance of a professional racer getting caught having a gamer stand in for him during a race.

As the BBC report, 27-year-old German driver Daniel Abt finished third in the latest leg of Formula E’s Race at Home Challenge. Or, organisers thought he’d finished third, until later discovering that he’d hired a gamer to drive the race for him.

The switch was discovered by ex-F1 driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who finished second in the race and suspected that Abt—who didn’t have his video on—wasn’t behind the wheel. Instead, it turned out to be a gamer by the name of Lorenz Horzing.

Abt has been forced to pay £8,900, was disqualified from the last race and has had all his points from the series wiped.

This is where you really have to check any inclination to hand-wave this due to it being esports instead of IRL sports. Were a racer to have a different driver drive his car, we all agree that would be indefensible. The same is the case here, especially given just how much we're talking about in terms of marketing, advertising, purse, and sponsorship dollars. Once you accept that esports is a very real and established thing, this sort of cheating takes on an entirely different light.

It's perhaps one of the challenges esports faces: getting spectators to buy into events when the participants aren't live and in-person. Frankly, I'm a bit surprised there wouldn't be a rule mandating the cameras be turned on.

For what it's worth, Abt has since apologized. Regardless, this is something that probably had to happen at some point, but it's worth remembering that not all milestones are positive.

Filed Under: daniel abt, egaming, esports, formula e, gamers, lorenz horzing, race cars


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 May 2020 @ 7:48pm

    I might have imagined that there would be official channels for stand-ins at this point.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Phillip (profile), 29 May 2020 @ 8:09pm

    Poor investment

    How did he hire a "professional" gamer that couldn't even beat other racers that aren't gamers?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ehud Gavron (profile), 29 May 2020 @ 9:41pm

      Re: Poor investment

      How did he hire a "professional" gamer that couldn't even beat other racers that aren't gamers?

      I think your quotes are RIGHT ON. A true "professional gamer" would not stoop to doing this. This was perpetrating fraud on the team, sponsors, and fans.

      E

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Châu, 30 May 2020 @ 12:59am

    Silly think real race car driver can drive game car good

    Why any person can think professional athlete can play video game version of their sport better than gamers?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Don Speekingleesh (profile), 30 May 2020 @ 1:34am

    He's been fired now

    Abt has since been fired by his team and won't be racing for then again, virtually or real life.

    Many racing drivers use driving sims (they're more than games) as part of their training routine, even teams use them for testing changes to cars.

    The difference in the sim world between a professional sim racer and a professional driver is very small.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      fairuse (profile), 30 May 2020 @ 10:41am

      Re: He's been fired now

      It seems people have not watched any Racing Sims; iRacing in sports cars is a big deal withe the races called by the same people who call real life races.

      The open wheel type races are a bit on back foot. A simulator is not a game and there are rules.

      live on TV in USA and you tube also.

      Unfortunately Sim Racing gets no respect from ball sports people; till now.$$

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2020 @ 5:34pm

        Re: Re: He's been fired now

        I read that the simulators are quite realistic, for example they allow tuning of the suspension. There is a set amount of gasoline and they run out, similarly the tires wear. In addition I read that some actual race car drivers use sims to prep for up coming races. It's also expensive.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Dpboss (profile), 30 May 2020 @ 5:03am

    Dpboss

    India's most confided in stages for Satta Matka. We give the quickest and most solid Matka result. Dpboss is the most popular for the matka surmises.

    Visit here: https://dpboss143.net

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Adrian Cherry (profile), 30 May 2020 @ 11:58am

    not without precedent

    Although not a situation without precedent - an alleged quote from Eddie Irving racing in Formula 1 for Jordan

    Great Britain 1994

    When Eddie Jordan asked him to take part in a photo shoot of all the British drivers before Silverstone 1994 he replied, "Do I have to? Send out some f**ker in my helmet, they'll never know the difference"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2020 @ 4:35pm

    You said "professional race car driver", but you can't bring yourself to say "professional gamer"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2020 @ 10:02am

      Re:

      Except the real difference is that professionals get paid and amateurs don't. Unless they win a gaming tournament with cash prizes, no gamer is a professional, technically speaking.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2020 @ 10:06am

      Re:

      To add: Before you say anything, the gamer in this case wasn't paid to play a game, he was paid to stand in for Daniel Abt playing a game. Big difference.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bodger (profile), 31 May 2020 @ 8:50am

    Well, why not?

    This is clearly a business. To be successful in business one must learn early on to delegate tasks to those best able to carry them out or the most economical to achieve the desired ends: The art designer will not be tasked with doing data entry. The CEO will not be spending time emptying the trash.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    CaesarAlan, 31 May 2020 @ 4:08pm

    The schadenfreude is strong with this one...

    One further detail that adds some extra spice to this story: the Abt family owns a performance tuning company (Abt Sportsline) that is a title sponsor of the IRL team that's just sacked him.

    On the one hand, this makes his decision to cheat even stupider - as he's dragging the family business through the mud too.

    But it might also explain why he did. He may well have got the drive in part because of the family connection and sponsorship. And drivers that "buy" their way into race seats like this aren't exactly renowned for their genius decision-making.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.