Drone Grand Prix Laax: New DCL season starting on a high

  • Snowpark Laax hosted the new season’s first Drone Champions League race from 28 to 30 March
  • Full of surprising twists and last-minute decisions
  • Strong competition promises exciting 2019 season

Liechtenstein, 02.04.19 – Faster, further and, most of all, higher: With this year’s season kick-off in Switzerland’s legendary Snowpark Laax, the Drone Champions League (DCL) took things to a new level. The world’s best pilots competed on an altitude of more than 2,200 metres from 28 to 30 March, reaching breath-taking speeds of up to 160km/h in the action-packed races of the world’s leading drone racing league. On the first race day, the British serial winner team XBLADES RACING (UK) was off to a strong start, underlining its claim to winning its third title. This was followed by a Saturday full of surprises when VELOCE RACING (South Korea) and DRONE SPORTS (Russia), both new teams, competed in the finals with the South Koreans being the lucky winners in the end. However, the Swiss McDONALD’S WILD CARD TEAM caused the biggest stir, beating professional teams on both race days and making it to the semi-finals.

 

From the Great Wall of China to the Champs-Elysées, the DCL is always on the lookout for spectacular places for its international races. In this line-up of exclusive locations, Snowpark Laax was the perfect fit: “Racing on 2,250 metres above sea level came with some special challenges for the pilots. Apart from the very ambitious racing track, the air density is more than 20% lower, and, in the evenings, the cold temperatures caused the drone batteries to use up their energy more quickly. Then there’s the special wind conditions in the mountains which must not be underestimated in such races where the smallest mistake and only a few centimetres can decide about winning or losing,” explains DCL CEO Herbert Weirather.

Same racing track + different day = completely divergent results

Anyone thinking that the new season would start like the old had ended had their predictions confirmed, at least on Friday when XBLADES RACING and QUAD FORCE ONE (USA) competed against each other in the finals. The British team won in the last second and continued last year’s winning streak. Saturday, however, was a completely different story: Friday’s runner-up team had to concede defeat in the quarter-finals and double world champion XBLADES RACING followed suit in the semi-finals. Many among the expert spectators were surprised that, with DRONE SPORTS and VELOCE RACING, two newly founded teams made it to the finals, with the latter taking home the victory in the end. Another huge stir was caused by the McDONALD’S WILDCARD TEAM when it beat the Scandinavian APEX RACING team in the quarter-finals on Friday. Saturday’s performance confirmed that this had not been a fluke: The Swiss team competed against CHINA DRAGONS (China) and made it to the semi-finals. The members of the McDONALD’S WILDCARD TEAM had initially qualified via the drone racing simulator DCL – The Game (free early demo) before taking part in qualifying rounds with real drones.

Comments on Drone Grand Prix Laax

“We’ve always said that the skills needed for the drone racing simulator DCL – The Game can directly be transferred to real world situations. The great performance of the McDONALD’S WILDCARD TEAM has proven that. The results also show that the competition is very balanced, with each team being capable of beating the other. Thus, the new season promises to be particularly exciting, “says Herbert Weirather.

“It was great to be able to welcome the DCL here in Laax. We enjoyed spectacular races against a fabulous mountain backdrop and are proud to have been the first venue to host a drone race in the snow on 2,252 metres above sea level and in the biggest halfpipe worldwide. Both the event and DCL – The Game, which features a virtual Laax track, are a perfect fit for our digital DNA,” comments Reto Gurtner, CEO of Weissen Arena Gruppe.

Drone Grand Prix Laax results at a glance

Friday, 29 March 2019

TEAM Points Won
1. XBLADES RACING 250
2. QUAD FORCE ONE 220
3. MCDONALD’S WILDCARD TEAM 200
4. VELOCE RACING 150
5. APEX RACING 80
6. CHINA DRAGONS 0
7. DRONE SPORTS 0
8. DMM RAIDEN RACING 0

 

Saturday, 30 March 2019

TEAM Points Won
1. VELOCE RACING 250
2. DRONE SPORTS 220
3. MCDONALD’S WILDCARD TEAM 200
4. XBLADES RACING 150
5. APEX RACING 80
6. CHINA DRAGONS 0
7. QUAD FORCE ONE 0
8. DMM RAIDEN RACING 0

 

After the first of altogether six races, three teams – VELOCE RACING, XBLADES RACING und the McDONALD’S WILDCARD TEAM – have each 400 points and are currently sharing the number one spot in the battle for the world championship. Fans of drone racing couldn’t have asked for a more thrilling result!

About the Drone Champions League

Since 2016, the Drone Champions League (DCL) has each season brought together the world’s best drone pilots who compete in eight international teams on race tracks around the world. Among others, events have taken place in Germany, France, Belgium, Romania, Liechtenstein, Spain, China and Switzerland. Each DCL race is broadcast live and worldwide on TV in 100 countries and can also be viewed online. DCL partners include Red Bull*, Breitling*, Tencent Sports* and McDonald’s*. More information on www.dcl.aero and www.game.dcl.aero.