Despite a difficult start to his virtual campaign, Mitch Evans has shrugged off any possibility that the extended coronavirus-induced season suspension and the switch to an entirely new concept of sim-racing will affect his competitiveness once he returns to the circuit.
Evans joined fellow kiwis Brendon Hartley and Nick Cassidy for the inaugural Formula E ‘Race at Home’ virtual championship round, contested on the simulated streets of Hong Kong.
While ardent sim-racer Nick Cassidy impressed in the event, finishing in second just 2.2s off the eventual race winner, both Evans and Hartley evidently struggled, concluding the race 16th and 17th.
But despite acknowledging the demoralising truth that he is indeed well off the pace, Evans admits that nothing can compare to the real-deal and says his competitiveness and fine run of form in the opening five rounds of the championship will not wither amongst the Covid-19 break.
“You do get a bit of a buzz driving in the virtual world, especially when you have got competition,” Evans said.
“In retrospect it was probably more frustration because I was so far off.
“The virtual E-Race is so competitive and I felt like a novice out there. I felt so underprepared it was crazy.
“And a lot of it is driving, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of it is also just a game and you just trying to drive around the physics of the game. And also, there is no consequence if you have a crash or anything.
“But it is quite impressive to see how fast some of these sim-racers are these days.”
Before the season suspension Evans was second in the points standings after the fifth round in Marrakesh.
A dominant display in Mexico coupled with a strong drive in Santiago how led many members in the paddock to label the 25-year-old Aucklander as the number one title protagonist.
Esport struggles aside, Evans admits he won’t have too many difficulties adjusting back into the realm of real-life racing and is adamant his Panasonic Jaguar Racing Team can keep their promising potential buoyant.
“It is like riding a bike,” he added. “Especially if you have driven the car multiple times which, obviously, I have, so I am not too worried about that.
“But we were in a really good patch and when you are in that situation you just want the races to keep coming because you don’t want the others to catch up.
“You just want them keep on coming so you can capitalise on your performance.
“It is going to be interesting to see what happens after the break. Other teams may have caught up, others may not have, or we may have made even more progress than others.
“But we are in a great position and I am sure we still will be once we get out of this.”
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