Two Germans in the fast lane?

Felix Hirsiger, two-time winner of the season, is the favourite to enter the third Formula V Challenger race of the season. But he faces strong competition from Germany.

Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel. No other country has produced more series champions in Formula 1 racing in the recent past than Germany. It is therefore hardly a coincidence that Formula V founder Francisco Fernandez wants to expand his product sooner rather than later into his northern neighbour. 

The future is already beginning in terms of sport. On Sunday, two German cracks will compete for the first time in the Formula V Championship in Cham: 33-year-old Manuel Sudau and his 14-year younger colleague Angelo Michel. Although the race in the Evotek simulator is a premiere for both, the Germans have great experience in e-racing at the highest level. They are among the stars of the Simracing scene and drive week after week at the highest level in the "Rennsport Online" team. The fact that the virtual Nürburgring will take place on Sunday makes it almost possible for the two German beginners to play a home game.

Sudau, who works as a space developer at ETH Zurich and is on his way to a doctorate, was an ambitious racing driver in his youth: "I had a hot phase in go-karting at the age of 14, 15, but I didn't have the money for the next step”. So he decided in favour of his academic career - and on simulator racing as a hobby. Meanwhile this has become much more than that. At home Sudau is an iRacing cockpit worth 20,000 euros. Thanks to sponsors and partnerships, he moves in a sporting environment in which the best earn up to 150,000 francs a year. "If I wanted, I could probably make a living from simracing," he says, "but for that I would have to interrupt my professional career”.

Because this risk is too big for him, he now pursues his racing passion in his spare time - but with direct access to the big motorsport world. Last weekend he competed against Formula 1 drivers Max Verstappen and Lando Norris in the virtual 24-hour race at Spa: "It was a great experience," he says. Basically, however, he doesn't think much of it when you mix the real with the virtual racing world: "These are two different sports that need completely different abilities.”

How he will find his way around in the Evotek simulator in the Formula V Lounge in Cham on Sunday is something he can only foresee to a limited extent. Because in Germany he mostly drives in GT3 cars from the touring scene: "The Formula 1 simulators have different requirements". For the first time, he wants to gently approach the new challenge or "get a taste", as he says. But one thing is also clear: the two German guest drivers have experience, class and technical skills to annoy the competition right from the start. A glance into Angelo Michel's records gives some reasons to expect a lot. Michel had already won the ADAC Simracing Trophy at the age of 16. And since then he only knew one way: the one in the fast lane.

Thomas Renggli