The inaugural World Drone Prix took place over March 11 and 12 at Skydive Dubai on the world’s first racetrack built specifically for drones. Luke Bannister, a 15 year old from the UK, lead his team to victory at the first World Drone Prix, returning home with a cool US$250,000 in tow.
Some 150 teams, hailing from all around the globe, started out in the World Drone Prix. Entrants were able to remotely qualify for the event via an American Idol-style submission video. Then, at an indoor qualifying track at Skydive Dubai, this number was whittled down to 32.
The 32 was cut down to a round of 16, followed by semi finals and then a grand finale on Saturday night. Bannister’s Tornado X-Blades Banni UK team claimed first place in the final, beating out Dubai Drone Tek, VS Meshcheriakov and Dutch Drone Race Team SQG , whose hauls of $125,000, $50,000 and $25,000, respectively, aren’t exactly pocket change either. By way of comparison, and to demonstrate how the sport has exploded in popularity, last year’s inaugural US Drone Racing National Championship offered a total purse of $25,000.
Congratulations to Dubai on a thrilling event. Watch the video at the top showing the FPV of the winning laps – pretty amazing. Drone racing is really on to something with the night time sets – easy to imagine this being themed for a sponsor – kind of a sky version of miniature golf.
Here is another promo video: