The Drone Racing League is heading to the Middle East — taking its fast-flying, mad-cornering FPV drones to Saudi Arabia, the first professional drone racing ever in the Kingdom.
For the 7th and final race in the 2018 Allianz World Championship, DRL will bring the final eight FPV pilots to race their custom built drones. DRL's team builds these drones in-house, "...customizing a fleet of more than 600 identical DRL Racer3 drones," he says DRL's CEO and founder Nicholas Horbaczewski by email. These drones are fast. Its DRL RacerX drone won the Guinness Book of World Records title for hitting the fastest ground speed — more than 179 mph — by a battery-powered remote-controlled quadcopter in 2017, says DRL. That's much faster than your Prius.
The league held its first spectator race in 2017, with the 2017 DRL Allianz World Championship finale in London's Alexandria Palace. And although some fans come to watch these final races live, most viewers will instead tune in online or watch via networks including ESPN, Sky Sports, Disney XD, Prosieben and Fox Asia. OSN will also carry the event for those in the Middle East. The race isn't even running until September 2018 — plenty of time to sign up for your cable channel of choice.
Horbaczewski says that DRL worked with Saudi Arabia's General Sport Authority (GSA) to bring the 2018 final race to the area. Drone racing is of interest in the Middle East — the World Drone Prix in Dubai made headlines in 2016 when a British 15-year-old took home a $250,000 grand prize.
Sponsorship and prizes are key to any sports. DRL offered a $100,000 purse to the winner of its 2017 season. And sponsors of DRL have grown since the racing league first launched in 2015 to include Bud Light, Swatch and the U.S. Air Force. Allianz has been the title sponsor as of this February.