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  • Writer's pictureTyesha Ferron

The Drone Champions League 2021: The Women’s Cup and 2021 Draft


Credit: Drone Champions League

Drone racing, or FPV, is a sport that challenges pilots to strategically fly through complex racing tracks at high speeds. Pilots compete in these races in person while watching a first-person view of their drone camera footage through special FPV goggles or virtually through drone simulator games. Either way, the racers are immersed in a high-flying competition of speed and strategy.


The Drone Champions League (DCL) was first mentioned on our blog when we covered flying virtually with drone sims as an alternative to going outside. However, the DCL isn’t just the creator of a highly praised drone simulator. The DCL proudly carries the distinction of being the recognized championship for professional drone racing teams.

About the DCL


In the past, we’ve focused on FPV drone racing as an individual sport, but the DCL is a race series that promotes several teams of professional pilots. These are international teams that would compete at locations around the globe for the DCL World Championship. There are seven teams listed on their website: The China Dragons, Drone Sports, Quad Force One, Raiden Racing, SDT Euroflytec Team, XBlades, and Super Sonic X (formerly known as Veloce Racing and later Falcons Racing).

The DCL challenged themselves to establish drone racing as a world sport by producing live and virtual racing events that can be enjoyed in person or through streaming. Thousands of spectators have watched these events in person. In 2020, the DCL’s fifth season was completely virtual. Pilots competed in DCL - The Game in a virtual world with replicas of real cities. On April 7th, the DCL announced on their social media pages that their 2021 World Championship would be a hybrid season. The teams will race virtually, then in a real-life location, which will be streamed live on Twitch.


Credit: Drone Champions League

The Women’s Cup


Similar to other drone racing spaces, women are underrepresented as competitors in the DCL. Based on the DCL’s team pages, SDT Euroflytec is the only team that features a female pilot at the moment: Nuria Hernando flying under the moniker Bright FPV. However, this will change greatly in 2021. On April 9th, the Drone Champions League announced their Women’s Cup.

In their announcement, the Drone Champions League states that their Women’s Cup aims to provide a global platform for female drone pilots. Women will put their drone racing skills on display in front of millions of people worldwide in races that are broadcasted live on TV and online. Ultimately, the DCL hopes to encourage girls and women to participate in drone sports and grow the FPV community.

In the DCL Women’s Cup, they will be given the opportunity to join a team and benefit from the support that comes with it. - The Drone Champions League Puts Female Drone Pilots in the Global Spotlight with the DCL Women's Cup

Credit: Drone Champions League

The DCL Women's Cup will take place with female drone pilots competing for the title in front of a virtual audience. Interested female pilots applied for spots on a team by showing their flying talent in DCL - The Game. Their performance in DCL - The Game will be a determining factor in their draft selection qualification.

From June to November 2021, the chosen female pilots will compete against each other in seven race weekends in the Women’s Cup. The first six races will take place at virtual locations worldwide, including the USA, Switzerland, and China. According to the DCL, “[t]he final race weekend is set to take place in a real-life physical location.” The winning team will be announced in November, after all seven race weekends have been completed.

For the Women’s Cup, each team will choose two female pilots from the draft selection. The team that finished last in the final standings of the 2020 DCL World Championship gets the first choice. Each race day of the Women’s Cup is split into four "heats." Each of the seven teams is represented by a pilot in one heat. All seven pilots race at the same time against each other in a “Big Heat.” After each heat, the pilot's final position correlates to a fixed number of points. The team with the most cumulative points after all four heats wins the race day and will be crowned the Women's Cup Champion.


Credit: Drone Champions League

The Draft Selection


Pilots qualify to be in DCL’s teams by competing in DCL - The Game, their drone simulator game available on Steam, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. DCL - The game is a collaboration between DCL and THQ Nordic, a global video game publisher and developer. It is advertised as having over 30 tracks, a worldwide userbase, and four flight modes: Arcade, GPS, Angle, and Acro. The pilots in the highest racing mode compete for places in the actual DCL Draft Selection, allowing players from the game to be recruited by teams to fly in the real-life series.

The Draft Qualification for this year began running on April 19th. The DCL invited pilots across the gender spectrum from all over the world to demonstrate their flying talent from the comfort of their homes. Interested pilots could fly all four virtual tracks for their chance to be selected by a team and fly in the DCL World Championship or DCL Women's Cup for 2021. The Draft Selection Qualification to join one of the DCL’s teams officially ended Friday, May 14th.

DCL considers speed and technical knowledge essential in drone racing, and both were considered in the qualification process. Aside from this, participants could also convince the teams by showcasing their success and experience outside the DCL. The best-performing pilots were eligible to compete in a final race. This race took place on May 22nd. Starting at 12 pm UTC, the pilots were given 24 hours to fly the best possible time on an entirely new racetrack. The teams’ final selections will be announced on May 31st.


 

Tyesha Ferron is a writer and an artist based in Atlanta, Georgia. Specializing in digital art, Tyesha loves exploring the new ways technology intersects with culture and how drones make things more efficient and accessible for artists, hobbyists, and industry professionals. As a novice drone enthusiast, she continues to be impressed by what the drone community and industry can accomplish.


Instagram: @tyesha.ferron

Twitter: @Tyesha_Ferron

LinkedIn: Tyesha Ferron


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