As anyone who's ever taken a driver's test knows, parallel parking sucks. But parallel parking in space? That's awesome, especially when it's done at ludicrous speed, with no regard for the safety of yourself or those around you. And if you happen to have a talent for that sort of intergalactic hotdogging, you might be able to score some free Elite: Dangerous loot with it.
Inspiration for the "Frontier Competition" speed docking contest goes back to July, when Elite: Dangerous forum user EidLeWeise, aka Ben Mos-Woodward, posted the rules and some videos from a competition held during Lavecon 2014. Naturally, it didn't take long for other pilots to try to best his mark, and earlier today Frontier Developments decided to make it an official contest.
"At the end of the working week (Friday 4PM BST) we'll be putting the top ten times in to a prize draw—the winner will get an Elite: Dangerous goodie bag," Community Relations Manager Edward Lewis wrote. He initially said that different classes of ships could be used in the contest, but the studio eventually decided to keep the challenge as it was originally laid out: An unmodified Sidewinder starting from 5 km out, facing away from the station.
At last check, the top gun was Kerrash, who went from the start position to landed in a ridiculous 39 seconds. Watching him hit the spot in the video above, it becomes clear that this is going to be a tough time to beat; the only place I can see other pilots shaving a second or two off is during the landing sequence, although since I've never played Elite: Dangerous myself I don't know how quickly you can actually get these things turned around and on the ground. This might be as good as it gets.
It's not quite as exciting (or dangerous) as Isinona's famous and thoroughly crazy unpowered smuggling run, but standing on it through such a tiny slot, and then getting on the brakes hard enough and fast enough to land without turning yourself into a smear, is still a risky business—risky enough for Frontier to warn on Twitter that you pays your dime, you takes your chances.
We cannot be held responsible for any damaged ship parts as a result of this competition!October 20, 2014
Full contest rules (although there's really no more to it than what's mentioned above), entry links, and other relevant information can be found on the Elite: Dangerous Fan Creations forum.
[Update: The report originally stated that the contest "began" with EidLeWeise's July forum post. We've edited for clarity.]