Even among drone enthusiasts, many can be surprised when they learn that drone racing has effectively become a sport. Not very long ago, the “Drone Racing League” was basically being tested by ESPN, shown on television during odd hours and such. However, once ESPN essentially renewed DRL for a second “season,” so to speak, it seemed the sport was established. Just last month, the DRL announced the 2018 world championships, which will be sponsored by Allianz and held in Saudi Arabia. That certainly signifies that they’re ramping things up a notch (and looking to get foreign markets more involved, no doubt).
Naturally, this means that the pilots who compete in the league have gotten more serious (and will continue to get more serious as the league grows). Accordingly, their drones are being built more and more competitively. As one article on the growth of DRL and its expansion into sports betting markets pointed out, the pilots’ drones are not like those that have traditionally been built for stability and steady video shooting. Rather, racing drones are built for speed and maneuverability. That makes them intriguing to fans and more casual drone users who want to hone their skills using these machines recreationally, rather than for casual use, shooting video, etc.
Most professional pilots, however, aren’t merely purchasing drones and flying them out of the box. Rather, they’re piecing together their drones with high-end parts from a variety of companies. The DRL site has a full list of pilots and gear, if you happen to have a favorite pilot (or drone) you’d like to emulate. But just for a sampling, here are a few of the preferred motors from top pilots.
Electrify RC 2206 2450kv
This is the preferred motor of 32Bitsofgil, who’s become one of the better up-and-coming pilots on the circuit (insofar as anyone can be a newcomer in such a new sport). There was a previous version of this motor without a “kv” rating, which refers to its constant velocity. This updated model, when paired with a quadcopter, can make for a very capable drone. This motor can be bought for only about $20.
T-Motor F80 2200kv
This motor doesn’t have quite the kv rating of the one favored by 32Bitsofgil, and it’s actually a little bit more expensive (though we’re talking a very slight margin of about $4-5). A_Nub, a “self-taught engineer” who according to the DRL site has more podium finishes than any other pilot, uses this motor, and is thought to be particularly adept at designing his machines. It’s generally thought to be a very powerful option for its size and price.
RMRC Rifle Motors
This is a line of drone motors rather than a specific model, but it’s another option fit for a powerful and highly maneuverable drone. The RMRC Rifle Motors are favored by Gab707, a Swiss pilot who’s become a dominant force in DRL. True to form (known as a calm and intimidating figure), Gab707 seems to have opted for a slightly higher end option. The RMRC price range tends to be closer to $50 than the $20-25 range for the aforementioned options.