Deutsche Qualität. In Germany we don't mess with quality, nor with probity. And at Audi, e-sport is a discipline that we take very seriously. Formula E (electric F1) driver Daniel Abt has just been confirmed after Audi kicked him out of his racing stable after a weird cheat.
Last weekend was the fifth virtual race on Formula E simulator, a mini-championship on screen which began in April with global containment, like the virtual races of Formula 1, NASCAR of IndyCar, 24h of Le Mans and other championships like the Porsche Cup.
Daniel Abt, official driver of the Audi Formula E team, was supposed to participate in the fifth round of the online race simulator series "Race at Home Challenge" on the virtual circuit of Berlin with the simulation game rFactor 2. A championship which is not only intended to provide fans and pilots with their dose of thrills and suspense during the pandemic, since it is also supposed to allow pilots and teams to stay connected, while collecting funds for UNICEF.
The gamer stronger than the pilot, but betrayed by his IP address
But the 27-year-old driver had a funny idea: to make another competitor compete for him. So he contacted Lorenz Hörzing, an 18-year-old e-sports professional – who himself has since been suspended from the simulator racing series – so that he can take the wheel in his place, certainly considering that he would be better able to be in the right place in the ranking, even to win. Unfortunately for the two men, several clues quickly aroused suspicion.
On the one hand, on the pilot group’s Zoom call, the competitor named "Daniel Abt" and dressed in a red Audi uniform, but behind a big microphone that masked his face. On the other hand, his car led for most of the race, an amazing performance when you know that Daniel Abt was not very comfortable with this type of event. The deception really started to show after Simracer Hoerzing finished third, which means Abt was supposed to show up for standard post-race maintenance with the top three drivers. But he didn't: Rowland and Vandoorne's Zoom streams appeared next to a funny black screen with the name Abt, and the hosts didn't even try to interview the pilot Audi, the latter claiming connection problems. The final blow was struck when race organizers were able to verify that Abt was not running based on Hoerzing’s IP address.
Caught in the act of deception, Daniel Abt apologized pitifully in a video where he tries to justify himself by invoking an alleged joke that he intended to reveal at the end.
But Audi didn't hear it that way. After suspending the pilot, the German mark finally dismissed him, and Abt will also have to pay a donation of 10,000 euros to an association, while the German mark deplored in a press release an attack on its image: "Integrity, transparency and constant compliance with the applicable rules are top priorities for Audi. This applies to all activities in which the brand participates without exception. "
Daniel Abt has been racing for Audi since 2016.