The Drone Racing League (DRL) is the next step in our long history of competitive driving and flying.
By: Ezra Meyers
Horse racing. Chariot racing. Drag racing. IndyCar Series. NASCAR. Humans have been racing — both as amateurs and professionals — since we’ve had a recorded civilization. Whipping around corners at top speeds is a joy that has endured across thousands of years.
Despite its longevity, racing as we know it comes with challenges that make it difficult for ‘just anyone’ to pursue it as a career, much less a hobby. Not only is it incredibly dangerous, but it is also very expensive, making most racing events only feasible for fearless, skilled, and sponsored professionals; the extremely wealthy; or people pursuing some secret, illegal Fast and the Furious style hobby (which we do not recommend).
That’s all changing with The Drone Racing League (DRL) — which is a big reason why Cox is getting involved with the pro drone racing sport, sponsoring the league’s 2018 DRL Allianz World Championship Season.
What is The Drone Racing League?
Combining the thrill of pod-racing from Star Wars with the real world adrenaline of Formula 1, DRL is the pro drone racing sport for elite pilots. With custom built racing drones traveling in speeds above 90 MPH, pilots race FPV (First Person View) through the most insane three-dimensional courses ever created outside of a video game.
DRL’s competition happens exclusively in the air where drones literally dive over, under and around elaborate obstacles in iconic venues across the world, speeding past each other through giant gates and allowing for an intense air-race that just wouldn’t be possible in manned vehicles (until we have flying cars, but you know, one thing at a time). You end up with some spectacular moves, strategies, and non-life threatening crashes, since the driver is remote and no one can get injured.
Every DRL drone is equipped with a camera that feeds a live video back to a pair of FPV goggles worn by the pilots, allowing them to fly the drone as if they were in the cockpit. You can also see this feed as a member of the audience, enabling you to watch the race from above or as if you were flying it yourself.
How can you watch DRL?
With partnerships with some of the best sports networks in 75+ countries (like ESPN and Disney XD in the US), DRL is rapidly growing in popularity, so watching it on TV, the internet or in person is becoming as easy as viewing any other large sporting event.
This fall, DRL will air their 2018 season featuring 18 of the most elite pilots in the world competing in seven races for the right to be crowned the world’s best.
In September, be sure to tune into the 2018 Season on ESPN by saying “Drone Racing League” into your Cox Contour voice remote and prepare for an experience like no other!
Can you race drones yourself?
The Drone Racing League recently launched the DRL Simulator, the world’s only true-to-life drone racing simulator, available on Steam. Through its 50-mission tutorial, rookies can learn the ins-and-outs of racing a fast drone, including basic flying skills like throttle, pitch, yaw. DRL even runs an esport tournament through their simulator in order to find potential pilots to compete in their real competitions. Plus, they sell inexpensive DRL Nikko Air racing drones, so you can practice and rip around at home.
When it comes to physically racing your drone, there are numerous communities where you can discuss racing with other pilots and learn about amateur competitions in your area. Or you could just arrange competitions with your friends. The cost to purchase and fly a drone is hardly more than taking part in other sports or investing in a video game system.
Drone racing provides a way for practically anyone to take part in intense, thrilling races that used to be accessible only to a small number of people. If you have even a small love for driving or flying, it’s worth a look.