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Watch This Racing Drone Blow Past a Race Car

... then blow itself up on the race track

July 18, 2017

A big new racing drone proved that a drone is faster than a race car. However, after beating the Formula E race car by a wide margin, the owners also found out the hard way that crashes are still a big part of racing. The event pitted a Titan Grand Prix GFD1 against a Formula E race car, and was part of  the new Formula E racing series in New York City, featuring electric-powered race cars.  The drone-car drag race was supposed to be a best-out-of-three competition, but after crushing the race car in one race, the drone was in no shape to continue.

The drone in this race was a bigger, louder racing drone that organizers think will make a drone racing an even more exciting spectator sport. While most drones are 250 mm across, the new GFD1 Is 1,100 mm across and is powered by eight rotors instead of the usual four. The Titan Grand Prix Racing Organization says the GFD1 weighs 30 pounds, can lift 200 pounds into the air, and flies faster than 110 mph.

Drone pilots Zachry Thayer and Jordan Temkin flew the Titan Grand Prix GFD1 drone for the event. Temkin, the Drone Racing League’s inaugural champion, says the new, bigger drones could make live drone events more exciting to watch.  “It's louder and scarier; it's very, very exciting in person,” he says. ” It makes drone racing more similar to the level of spectator excitement of cars.”

Racing around tight, hairpin turns, the drone easily beat the E car, although it crashed coming in for a landing when two motors burned out. But race organizers seemed thrilled with the results.

Drone arms race

Drone racing is a growth business right now. The Drone Racing League recently attracted more than 300,000 viewers on ESPN on a Saturday afternoon, beating out Formula 1 and IndyCar Series races on NBCSN.

The Titan Grand Prix is not the only drone racing organization hoping to impress the world with a supercharged new drone. Just last week  the Drone Racing League set the Guinness World record for fastest battery-powered quadcopter.. The DRL’s RacerX flew the 100-meter Guinness test course at an average speed of 163.5 mph and is capable of top speed of 179.6 mph. 

And this is certainly not the first time such a stunt has been staged. In fact, a number of drones outrace fast cars on YouTube, including a DRL drone outracing a Porsche 911 in a drag race.

The event was the coming out party for Titan Grand Prix, which is part of a startup organization called the Federation of Drone Racing (FDR). The Titan Grand Prix series claims to be an international drone racing series featuring “the fastest, largest, and most powerful racing drones in the world.” There is very little information on the organization’s website, but the company says it will announce a 2018 race season in the fall once the startup phase is complete, and hopes to have more promotional events in the near future.

For now, though, big racing drones have passed at least one test: they can beat some of the fastest automobiles.

Featured image: pixabay/gianfrancodebei