Drone drag racing puts drones at Guinness World Record-level speeds

Drone racing has taken the world by storm in the past few years, but there’s one catch: it often seems like the drones don’t go that fast.

The drone industry is changing that, as leagues promote their new, faster drones that can clock in speeds of nearly 180 miles per hour.

The Drone Racing League on Thursday set a record with its new RacerX drone, which clocked in at a record speed of just over 179 miles per hour. The tiny drone, which weighed less than two pounds, flew along an 100-meter course at an average speed of 163.5 miles per hour, certified by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Earlier prototypes of the drone burst into flames when hitting its highest point of acceleration due to the amount of power being applied.

And though the Drone Racing League has seemed to have gained the most traction in the drone racing industry (it recently scored another $20 million in Series B funding, and its races have appeared in spots like ESPN2), they aren’t alone in the trend.

The Titan Grand Prix Racing Organization is hosting its inaugural Formula E Qualcomm New York City ePrix this weekend at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.

The event is partially to promote the new Titan Grand Prix GFD1 drone, which its creators say is powerful enough to lift a 200lb man. The drone has eight propellers and has clocked in speeds of 110 mph. The drone is 43 inches (more than 3 feet!) diagonally from motor to motor (for comparison, a typical racing drone is about 9 inches).

titan grand prix
The Titan Grand Prix GFD1 alongside a typical racing drone. Photo courtesy of Titan Grand Prix Racing Organization

Drone pilots Zachry Thayer and Jordan Temkin will be at the controls for the drone race, in which the drone will compete in a best 2 out of 3 contest against the Formula E car on a 1/3 mile section of track, including the hairpin T01.

The race will happen at 2:30 p.m. on July 16, though the area will be available for spectators throughout the weekend.

This race is intended to be a preview of more to come next year, with the Titan Grand Prix expected to announce the complete 2018 race schedule this fall.

And over on the West Coast, the first ever drone “drag race” is happening in San Francisco next week.

The Aerial Sports League is hosting a California Drone Speed Challenge on Thursday, July 20. The drone race has sponsorship dollars from Comcast, with the winner walking away with a $10,000 prize purse.

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