Veloce Racing is a new presence on the DCL scene, but the crew of students from Korea wasted no time in making their mark, clinching their first race win at the 2019 opener in Laax, Switzerland. Veloce have just come off a tough battle in the Grand Prix Torino, but at third in the standings, they’re currently in position for an overall podium spot with three races to go.
And Veloce’s individual team members are hardly new to competition. Junyong “Rappy” Heo, who is based in Incheon, took first at the 2018 Hanyang University FPV Drone Race. Seongmin Ko, who lives in Hwaseong and goes by the alias Fredy (“fresh and ready”),was on the third-place team at KAMA 2019. Youngrok Son was the 2016 Korean Drone Racing League Champion and the 2017 FAI World Champion in Seoul. Also in 2017, Youngrok joined the DCL, where across two seasons with XBlades Racing he earned numerous podiums and contributed to the British team’s back-to-back DCL World Championship titles.
“Competing in the track with other pilots gave me a new feeling, and the part that attracted me most was the First Person View,” says the pilot, who has changed his former alias of RockFPV to YoungMoney this season.
Youngrok’s move to Veloce has involved a lot more than an alias change. His responsibilities have evolved, as well. He explains, “When I was on the XBlades Racing Team, I just followed my teammates. But now I am the biggest brother of the Veloce Racing Team. It feels so different – more pressure – but we will be on the right way this season!”
Veloce have high ambitions. “Winning is the biggest motivation,” Youngrok shares, “though I love to hang out with my boys and have a party after a race!” They met almost every day during the winter break, working on settings, doing analysis of the most efficient lines and determining how to make the best quads possible. Plus they spend hours on DCL The Game to learn each new track. They’re proud to represent Korea, where, Youngrok reports, interest in drones is booming:
“The government encourages education about drones in university and high school, and there is even a major in self-flying drones, which is my major. Plus there are a lot of drone races and conferences on a world scale in Korea, and we have many great young drone racing pilots.”
While MinChan Kim rounded out the team at Laax, in Turin Veloce’s fourth member was MinJae Kim, a 10-year-old from Hwaseongwith a big smile and astonishing skills. When the team went to a Turin restaurant for a pizza-making lesson, no one seemed to enjoy it more than MinJae.
“There is a difference between Korean-style pizza and the original Italian, which was the biggest reason that MinJae was super excited about making one,” recalls Youngrok. “He loved that pizza!”
The team didn’t love their result in Italy – fifth place in both Turin races – however they took it in stride. “I struggled with the power limits,” admits Youngrok, who designs the drone frame and structure and analyzes settings.“I want to make our team quads faster than the others. This time I didn’t think about power deeply and wisely enough, which made it hard for us to win. But next time, there will be many differences in our quad.”
Another challenge arose for Veloce when team members lost FPV video for a few precious seconds in a Big Heat with eventual winners APEX Racing (DEN). “That was bad luck,” Youngrok says. “Hopefully, we will have better luck in the next race. I am sure that we can come back again!”