This past weekend with nothing on television I decided to tune into ESPN and watch drone racing. I did not know at the time it was the finals for the DRL 2016 World Racing Championship. The race was held in an old abandoned factory like so many other races this year.
I tried watching a drone race earlier in the season and I found it a little hard to follow the course although I loved the LED covered drones. But in this last race, I decided to stick it out and give it the benefit of the doubt. And I must say when it got down to the final heat I was excited.
There were six pilots vying for the championship, all with unique names, and the final was won by a pilot called “Jet” by just a gnat’s ass over “Johnny FPV”. I believe there was a total of seven heats that lasted only a couple of minutes each. There were a lot more mid-air collisions then I would have imagined, but as the heats went on the pilots tuned in a little better.
Drone Leagues Need Better Communication
I would love to give more information but the truth is the people responsible for announcing contests, pilots, and events are really haphazard. I tried looking up information on Google and there was not one place that contained all the information. There is going to have to be a lot better communication and coordination between leagues and ESPN if they expect this sport to grow. Right now, it is the best-kept secret between drone pilots themselves.
Broadcasting the races is becoming a little better as the announcers guide the viewer through the course and then recap the races in slow motion to capture the collisions and crashes that took place during the race.
Like in any sport it would be fun to pick your favorite pilots and track them during the racing season but that is going to be tough to do until things get a little better organized. By the way the winner of the DRL Championship was to become the first “professional” drone pilot in the league with a prize of ? Who knows? I couldn’t find the information.
DRL Partnering with Bud Light for 2017
But things are bound to get better. For instance, in November it was announced that The Drone Racing League (DRL) is partnering with Bud Light who will be sponsoring the 2017 Bud Light-DRL tryouts to find the next great FPV drone pilot.
"Since launching DRL in January, we've worked to bring the thrill of FPV drone racing to audiences around the globe," said DRL CEO/Founder, Nicholas Horbaczewski. Partnering with Bud Light to launch the DRL racing simulator is incredibly special for the league, as we continue blending the virtual and real worlds to build the sport of the future."
Pilot hopefuls, who are 21 or over, can enter the Bud Light DRL 2017 Tryouts by visiting www.DRLTryouts.com, downloading the DRL Racing Simulator and flying the simulator's online tryout campaign. The tryout includes four different maps from real life DRL levels: Gates of Hell, Miami Lights, L.A.Pocalypse, and Project Manhattan.
The top 24 eligible participants will be invited to test their skills in a live finals tournament in January for a chance to win a $75,000 professional 2017 DRL contract to compete in the 2017 DRL season as the Bud Light Pilot. Hell, I am going to try it myself!
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