The world is watching to see where this rapidly-growing sport is going; starting from local races at school soccer fields to league tournaments in neon-lit stadiums, everyone wants to see what’s really going on with FPV drone racing action. Meanwhile, the most sophisticated drone racing track ever designed and built is unveiled in Dubai this week at the World Drone Prix for a race of the top 32 FPV pilots in the world fighting for a chance at a piece of the $1M purse!
It’s the second week in March, 2016 and entrants have been qualifying for the main racing event later this week. For those already deep into this new sport, the World Drone Prix has been on their radar for a long time, while they prep their teams to travel to Dubai and face off with some of the world’s best FPV racers. For the rest of the world, we’re just awakening to images and video clips of a futuristic race track that could have been conjured-up by some of the top sci-fi directors or our era.[iframe id=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/OTM5yB2BJjI”]
The track is only the beginning of the wonderment of this spectacle. With mini FPV (First Person View) racing quadcopters, built primarily from sandwiched layers of carbon fiber and electronics, are capable of speeds over 60mph and controlled by a pilot with a radio controller and FPV goggles to navigate the circuit.
What’s exciting for spectators isn’t just the thrill of seeing these buzzing speed demons fight their way through the course to the finish line, but to also have the opportunity to view what the pilot sees from their transmitted video feed.
The technology allows for a live stream or televised broadcast of the full event, not unlike a NASCAR® race. UPDATE: Confirmed that there WILL be a Live Stream during the main racing events so be sure to check out this link.
Check out this amazing video of the track layout during setup this week: [iframe id=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/0ZhpWQXUWoo”]
The qualifying rounds have been held on March 7th and 8th, which narrows down the field to only 32 teams to move on to the races on the evenings of the 11th-12th.
Currently ranked in first place is a team with a 14 yr old pilot, Luke Bannister from the UK (AKA BanniUK in the FPV world) and his proud Mum wrote an article about his love of the sport and how he got interested in it just a few years ago, but now he’s part of a great team that should be taken seriously.
This just proves that the sport is open to all ages and experience, and that a young teenage stands a chance at winning the world’s largest prize in the industry.
Here’s a video overview of the 2nd day of qualifying races:
For the Track Race, the First Place winner takes home $250,000 and for the Freestyle First Place $50,000. Several other places and categories are awarded down to $12,500. This would be a record purse for any race in this new sporting event.
This video will give you an idea of what it will feel like to be part of this exciting event! [iframe id=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/Fpwxm-RpHdM”]
The world will be watching to see how this event pushes the sport forward around the globe. And so will we. 🙂 For up to the minute insights and updates, follow the World Drone Prix Facebook page here.
UPDATE 3/11: Check out this time trial run on the track last night! (courtesy of “SiganBerg’s” channel on YouTube)[iframe id=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/p85Yu9-RWzI”]
UPDATE 3/12 AM: More live racing this morning and the competition is really picking things up! Higher speeds and the most skilled racers are really fighting it out! 14 year old Luke Bannister is still wowing the world by winning Race #4 of the preliminary round, proving that drone racing really can be an exciting spectator sport!
FINAL UPDATE 3/12: And here they are! The winners of #WDP16
– Minchin Kim
– Steele Davis
– John Schaer
– Chad Nowak
– Banni UK
FAST LAP AWARD
– VS Meshcheriakov
BEST TEAM (AUDIENCE FAVORITE)
– Dubai Dronetek
LOCAL UAE AWARDS FOR RACING
– Dubai Dronetek
– Drone Worx Dubai