The International Drone Racing Association, or the IDRA is currently the most prominent global drone racing and other extreme rotor sports entertainment company. Although it is based in California, there are over 35 countries participating within the scope of the IDRA.
There are many ways to race drones, from obstacle courses to NASCAR – style races. The most notable is the NASCAR style race, as it is the most well known to the racers and the public. On top of the different race categories, there are multiple different class types for racers to compete in. The highest profile competition for IDRA events (and for all drone racing in general) has been the World Drone Prix that took place in Dubai back in March of 2016.
Pilots build and modify their own drones, but anything goes provided they meet specifications. A standard build will cost upwards of $1000 – $1500, but can easily go above that. Teams will modify drones differently for each race they participate in, and is typically dependent on the setup of the race track.
Races that follow IDRA rules gives the racers points, with the more influential competitions providing more. The points create a ranking system for players based on experience and achievement, and leads way to creating larger projects like the National Drone Racing Championship, and then the World Drone Racing Championship.
Many pilots are already competing for a chance to enter the National Drone Racing Championship, which is the first event to have its own hour long spot on ESPN. Taking place on Governor’s Island from August 5 – 7, this is the biggest and highest profile drone race in the states. Placing in this event qualifies a pilot for the World Drone Racing Championship, which is essentially a world-wide version of the National.
The World Drone Championship will take place over the course of a week, beginning on October 17 in Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii. (see the upcoming schedule for drone racing). This event will also be broadcasted by ESPN after being edited down to fit the same hour long slot.