Yes, drone racers are a thing and they’re amazing. The Drone Racing League has gone from a dream to ESPN in a few short years. We met world champion Paul Nurkalla, aka Nurk FPV, and got an inside look at how the DRL is striving to be the next big sports league.
Somewhere between esports, NASCAR and Star Wars sits drone racing, also known as FPV racing. It’s a breathtakingly fast spectacle where drone pilots fly quadcopters that go 0 to 80 miles per hour in under a second through complex race courses. It’s currently attempting to shift from a fringe sport to the mainstream, and hit a major milestone as ESPN began airing Drone Racing League races, then signed up for second and third seasons. Starting a pro sports league from scratch has its challenges, and the FPV racing community is finding innovative ways to meet them. They’re using a video game to find talented new prospects and then helping develop them into the best fpv racers in the world. It’s resulted in unconventional stars like Wanraya Wannapong, aka Milk FPV – an 11-year-old girl from Thailand who became the FAI Female World Champion. The competition is intense and the prizes are increasingly bigger – so athletes like @NURKFPV have to train like hell to stay flying in the big leagues.