As the 2018 FIFA World Cup just concluded in Moscow, Beijing will soon welcome the opening of another world-class technology and sports event in August. On August 10th and 11th, the Drone Champions League (DCL) race will be held in Beijing WTown. It will be a gathering of the top pilots from different parts of the world, performing an exciting race over the Simatai Great Wall.
One of the Top Three Smart Technology Sports in the World
Emerging in recent years, drone racing is regarded as one of the three smart technology sports, together with e-sports and robot fighting. Drone racing is different from traditional racing because there are not only horizontal but also vertical tracks, hence the name “3D racing”.
With the highest speed of 140 kilometers per hour, drones used in the race can finish the acceleration from zero up to a 100 kilometers within 1.6 seconds. With neither GPS nor intelligent obstacle avoidance and a thrust-to-weight ratio of 8 to 1, drones are completely controlled by pilots manually. Therefore, pilots should be highly competent in terms of adjusting, assembling, adaptation and drone flying skills.
The Drone Champions League is the pioneer of drone racing. Since its inception in Europe 2016, DCL has been dedicated to organizing races in iconic landmarks across the world. Both professional and attractive, DCL race is one of the most high-profile and influential international series in the world.
The past few years have witnessed DCL organized races in iconic spots including Avenue des Champs Elysees (Paris, France), Grand Place (Brussels, Belgium), Salina Turda (Romania) and Las Ventas (Madrid, Spain). In 2017, DCL race reached a global audience of 400 million people, with 130 million each session on average. The current DCL race is organized by Aero Radio Sports Management Center of General Administration of Sports of China, Aero Sports Federation of China (ASFC) and Beijing Sports Federation, and co-organized by Beijing Aero Sports Association, Beijing Mingxin Technology Co. Ltd., Drone Champions AG and Beijing WTown Tourist Company.
“Drone racing is a promising, significant and emerging sport. China has a large group of professional pilots and clubs eager to compete with their counterparts from all around the world in greater platforms. That is why we decide to organize this international race. We hope that it can boost the development of China’s drone racing”, the spokesman of Aero Sports Federation of China (ASFC) said.
Starlit Track above the Great Wall
“As the Drone Champions League races only take place at exceptional locations, the natural choice for the Chinese venue landed on the Great Wall of China and Simatai.” said Herbert Weirather, CEO of DCL, “We have seen a large active drone racing community in China who is also interested in the Drone Champions Leagues. A race in China was the obvious desired location for a race.”
Situated in Beijing WTown, Simatai is the only section of the Great Wall that maintains the original appearance since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and is open for tours at night. Mr. Luo Zhewen, the expert in Ancient Chinese Architecture once commented that “the Chinese Great Wall is on top of the world, Simatai Great Wall is on top of the Chinese Great Wall.”
The venue of the race is in the Great Wall Theater, right beneath Simatai. With the sky and the earth, as well as the mountains and Simatai as background, it is an amphitheater built on the level ground and composed of a stone-built stage and a large auditorium. As one of the most distinctive place in Beijing WTown, the Great Wall Theater is selected as the venue for product launch events of various famous brands, including Samsung, BMW, BAIC Motor and Toyota. DCL’s track-designing specialists have taken advantage of slopes in the theater and designed a track with ups and downs, twists and turns so as to simulate how lofty and winding the Great Wall is.
In order to present the audiences across the world the charm of the Great Wall, the race is held in the afternoon and evening. When the night falls, Simatai will be glittering. Pilots fly their drones fast and furious in the unique landscape, overcome obstacles and make a final sprint. What an exciting moment for audiences across the world!
“It is the first time that Beijing WTown has held such a cutting-edge technological race in the classical scene. We hope that the race will not end as a mere race but as an epoch-making event and cultural exchange.” said the Beijing W-Town Tourist Company.
Surrounded by the Great Wall and the Tanghe River, Beijing WTown is a world-renowned scenic spot embracing the folk culture and history of northern China. It preserves the building complex in the architectural styles of the Ming, Qing dynasty and the Republic of China period. Pilots and audiences across the world can visit historical sites, venues, and fairs, enjoy street performances, try Chinese foods, and stay at theme hotels and B&Bs. “We hope to provide the best experience for pilots and audiences and help them know more about Chinese folk culture and the Great Wall.” The spokesman of Beijing W-Town said.
In the next few years, Beijing WTown-Simatai will be the main venue in China to hold DCL racing series, where top pilots and audiences can enjoy the passion of drone racing.
14 Chinese Pilots on Global Live Streaming
This year’s DCL series lasts 3 days. The venue will be closed for the flight tests on August 9 but will be open to the public on 10 and 11. The race is composed of qualification, quarterfinal, semi-final and final. The same agenda applies on both days, and two winning teams will be finally selected.
Each team will get certain points according to their ranks after each session. The team with the most points will win the championship this year. The championship of 2017 went to NEXXBLADES, a team from the U.K.
China Dragons are the regular team of the Drone Champions League, attending the DCL Races around the world. This time, the China Dragons will designate four domestic pilots to participate in the Great Wall Race. Meanwhile, ten Chinese pilots will participate in the race as wild-card players. They had a fierce competition with top pilots across the country and finally stood out in the DCL China Wild Card Race.
“Many Chinese pilots are eager to get an opportunity to fly in a DCL race because it is one of the best international races. We will work hard to offer more excellent pilots with more opportunities to get closer to the international drone racings.” Li Kejun said, General Manager of Mingxin (DCL’s key partner in China).
The race will be live streamed by TV stations of 70 countries. In China, Tencent Sports will live stream the race on the Tencent apps and websites with Chinese commentary.
Compared with traditional racing, drone racing offers an epoch-making experience for pilots and audiences, because pilots, in addition to simply overcoming obstacles on the 3D track, have to “fly” their drones via FPV with VR goggles powered by image transmission technology, which can also be sensed by on-site and online audiences.
Tencent Sports is not only the broadcaster of the 2018 DCL series but also the exclusive digital broadcaster in China covering all races of the 2018-2020 seasons. Ewell Zhao, General Manager of Tencent Sports, said: “it is manifested in our rebroadcasts of DCL races in Munich and Madrid that FPV drone racing is highly fascinating with more and more people attracted to it. We are excited to partner with the DCL in screening the 2018 series and look forward to watching strong performances from Chinese pilots.”
“With the Drone Prix China in 2018, we will lay the foundation for a series of drone races in China. We see great growth in the new Sports Art, especially in the Asian market. Together with our Chinese partners, even more, people can get enthusiastic about drone racing. ” said Herbert Weirather confidently.