Drone Racing League's World Championship 2018 to Take Place in Saudi Arabia

Nicholas Horbaczewski's Drone Racing League is taking its final race of the World Championship 2018 to Saudi Arabia, marking it the first-ever professional drone race in the region.

Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images

The Drone Racing League has come quite a long way, in a fairly short amount of time. Founder Nicholas Horbaczewski’s organization partnered with Allianz and ESPN, increasing their funding and reaching a whole new audience with their most recent 2017 World Championship this summer. In addition to all of this, DRL even set a Guinness World Record for ‘fastest ground speed by a battery-powered remote-controlled quadcopter’ (read, fastest drone) at 179.6 mph in July. The DRL certainly isn’t slowing down and is now officially taking its 2018 DRL Allianz World Championship finale to Saudi Arabia.

According to GearBrain, this will be the first professional drone race in Saudi Arabia, ever. The seventh race will conclude the championship and will have the remaining eight pilots duke it out by racing their customized first-person view drones around an obstacle course. Horbaczweski claims that the DRL modified the drones in question in-house, “…customizing a fleet of more than 600 identical DRL Racer3 drones,” which were first introduced in DRL’s second season of the championship, and reach up to 90 mph.

The 2017 DRL Allianz World Championship finale took place in the Alexandria Palace in London, with drone pilot Jordan ‘Jet’ Temkin taking home the gold. Of course, viewers will be able to watch the final race in September of next year online, through a slew of providers (ESPN, Sky Sports, Disney XD, ProSieben, Fox Asia, and OSN for the Middle East).

Reportedly, Horbaczewski and DRL worked with the General Sport Authority in Saudi Arabia to finalize and agree upon terms and conditions to bring the finale to the Kingdom. Apparently, drone racing is widely appealing in the region, with the World Drone Prix 2016 in Dubai being quite popular and resulting in a 15-year-old Brit taking home the $250,000 prize. 

Stay tuned for updates on the Drone Racing League and their 2018 Championship, as more sponsors, drones, and competitors are announced in the next few months.