Is this the racing sport of the future?
April 13, 2017
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In this age of technology, people are always looking for new ways to put their skills up against others in various forms of competition. Drone racing is a new up and coming, dare I say, sport that features high speed drones being flown through a racing course. Skilled pilots fly quad-copter drones through three-dimensional courses at speeds up to 120mph. DRL (Drone Racing League) drones are custom built for speed, agility, and performance. They are able to make incredibly tight turns and are very maneuverable, as they must be able to complete these courses in minimal time and without any mistakes. Pilots steer from the point of view of the drone by wearing First person view (FPV) goggles that display a live image transmitted by an onboard camera. For some these First person view drones may be very disorienting and dizzying as the speed and maneuvers make it hard to keep track of what is going on.
The founder of the DRL is Nick Horbaczewski, who was inspired by a small race among about 15 people he saw behind a warehouse in Long Island, New York. At the time Horbaczewski was the chief revenue officer of the global racing event company Tough Mudder, which he helped grow into a global brand generating more than $100 million in total revenue. Using this experience of assisting the process of large scale races, Horbaczewski sought to create a race of his own.
Horbaczewski announced in London in February 2017 his professional Drone Racing League’s title sponsor — Allianz Insurance — ahead of its second season, a global six-race tournament starting in Miami and finishing in London’s Alexandra Palace. It will be televised in June on Sky Sports and ESPN, and broadcast in more than 75 countries. DRL’s first season in 2015, consisted of five races that were broadcasted across 150 hours of content to an audience of over 28 million. In this year’s league, 16 pilots will compete in three of the first four races in Miami, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Boston to accumulate league points. The top 12 will go through to the semi-final in Munich from which the top eight will compete in the London final.
Drone racing has everything that makes a great racing event, intense competition, high speed action, crashes, and talent. Hopefully this new race will be able to gain a mass following to keep itself running and continue to expand its influence, as this race may have the potential to be the race of the future.