The Man Behind the Million Dollar Race - Luis Pachon - Cloud Sport

Shaun Cole On January 2, 2017
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Next week the Visa Vegas E Race will be run and a driver will walk out of there with $200,000.  The chances are pretty good that it will be one of ten alien sim racers that have earned there way into the race.  Also going for the cash are 20 of the real life pro Formula E drivers.  This is a good size prize for a race outside of Forumla One, Nascar or Indycar.   However, for a sim race this is the biggest prize in history. 

The Visa Vegas E Race has been in the works all season long with online qualifying races to select the grid for this event.  At this point in time the grid is set and all 30 drivers are on their way to Las Vegas for the race on January 7th.  At that point we will know how it played out.

But leading into this event I had many questions about the race and more importantly Cloud Sport, the organization behind the event.  So I sent over a handful of questions for Luis Pachon, the CEo and Founder of Cloud Sport.  We made arrangements for a skype intterview but the internet would not co-operate.  So I went ahead and aksed Luis to give me th answer via email and will hope for a live interview at some other point.

Here is what he had to say about the event:

1- What is Cloud Sport?

Cloud Sport is a technology startup created in Spain in 2016. The objective of this company, a pioneer in its sector, is to encourage the conversion of simracing to a professional activity. In spite of its youth, this company has already has gained the confidence of large international companies of the stature of the FIA Formula E Championship, SEAT Sport, Playseat and rFactor2.

2- How did you get into this (organizing huge racing events)?

I come from the world of technology; I have run other companies before, and I also experienced the world of competition from the position of co-driver. I have united my two worlds: technology and motorsport. After that, it was the promoters who also believed in it and made it possible for it to become a reality.

3- How did the Visa Vegas E Race come to be?
I posed the idea to the CEO of Formula E, Mr. Alejandro Agag, and -as he is a visionary and a person who knows how to do things and make them happen- he quickly understood and carried it out. Without him, we could not have done it.

4- How did you raise 1 million dollars for a purse?

Formula E understood the magnitude of this project and involved their partners, who have also pushed very strongly with the VISA Vegas eRace.

5- Is this a repeatable formula or competition? Will we see it again next year?

We will again see regulated official competitions from Cloud Sport, with different types of prizes.

6- Does this elevate simracing to the higher ranks of Pro Gaming?

It not only elevates it, it positions it strongly. Being regulated competitions, thanks to the software developed by Cloud Sport, we have taken a step further with respect to eSports. We interact within gaming.

7- Does this propel simracing to the higher ranks of real motorsports?

It is a first step, because we not only work with the simulation of driving and competition, but also we are talking about the culture of effort. You can’t press the reset button to start over here.

8- How has the simulation changed over the years? 

The main change has occurred in the last year, because we have seen that this can become professional and that the sim drivers themselves demand regular, regulated competitions.

9- With this much money on the line, did you see a difference in the level of competition in the online portion of this competition?

The only thing that money has done is give visibility to the world of simracing, and what we have to do is continue to democratise it.

10- How where the 20 Formula E drivers selected?
They are the same drivers as in the FIA Formula E championship.

11- The car is a Formula E model! The track is a virtual or fantasy track! Why did you chose for a fantasy track over a real one?

Cloud Sport has developed a perfectly replicable virtual circuit, for if anyone wanted to build it in real life. If any company wanted to build it, they could. We have designed all the tracks in such a way that they can match real areas.

12- Have you gotten feedback from the Formula E drivers about the car and its realism?

Yes, among the comments what people highlight is that the degree of realism is amazing, especially as far as the physics of the car are concerned. Also for the circuits, which are a great tool for taking references for actual circuits.

13- How do the Formula E drivers feel about racing against simracers?

In the end, in both worlds we are talking about drivers: very competitive people who are sure to have been preparing properly for Las Vegas.

14- When it comes down to the actual race for a million. How much practice time will drivers have prior to the event? Are they using locked setups everyone the same, or are they allowed to tweak the car?

The format of the event is very similar to that of a real race weekend in Formula E –in terms of practices as well. In this first competition everyone will have the same setup. All will use exactly the same cars, with the same specifications.

15- I am aware that you are using race officials. Will they be delivering live penalties?

Not only do we use official marshals, we have developed more than 30 software plug-ins specifically for this race. For example, the Fanboost, like in real races; And of course there will be direct sanctions from the stewards, given that one of the added values provided by Cloud Sport is that we set up a race control -just like in a real race.

16-How can fans of this race watch it live or after the event?

Live and after the event.
*(Formula E has now given the exact details of the broadcasting and streaming on its website)

17- From Virtual to reality! This is on your website. Could winning this race lead to more than just the money prize for these drivers?

Yes, it has been proven: this is the beginning of simracing’s professionalisation.

18- If you were a betting man. Who would you put your money on, a simracer or a Formula E driver? Could you also pick an overall winner from what you have seen going into this?

-As CEO of Cloud Sport, I would bet on the unification of the two worlds: real and virtual. I would also bet on a winner: Sim Racing!

I would like to thank Luis for taking the time to sit down with me and then to answer these questions for me via email.  We will be covering more on the Visa Vegas E Race here at The Simpit.

For details on the event please go here:  Visa Vegas E Race

Round 1 Highlights - Long Beach

Round 2 Highlights - Paris

Round 3 Highlights - Berlin

Round 4 Highlights - London


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