A year ago, I competed in The California Drone Speed Challenge with ASL in San Francisco. It was a lot of fun, but I never saw another race of this type. Finally, after a year, I got to compete in another drag race at our local Wednesday night race practice here in San Diego, CA. The race was put on by GoodTimesFPV, a San Diego based FPV race organizer. They wanted to experiment with a fast paced, heads-up 1v1 drag race format.
Pilots were randomly paired with 1 other racer during qualifying, which consisted of a drag race to the finish (about 50m). Pilots would need to leave the start line as soon as the tone sounded and score their fastest time to the finish. GoodTimesFPV even had a way for your average speed to be recorded and announced after each race, which was a nice touch. Pilots were required to stay under flags at the finish in order to be scored. I was told the flags would eventually be switched out for a gate.
After qualifying, the top pilot would be paired with the slowest, second fastest with second slowest… Then a heads-up race would ensue. Since this was double elimination, the loser was not out of the race. You had to lose 2 times in order to be eliminated. Losers would be added to a second bracket to battle it out for a chance back into the winner's bracket. LiveTime race tracker is not made to seed this type of format so lots of manual changes needed to be done in order to keep things fair and flowing. Pilots were eventually dwindled down to a final race between the 2 most winning pilots of the night and a winner was decided in that race.
For fans of carnage, drag racing will not disappoint. Holeshots are basically required to have any chance at a win, so tons of races began with a quad (or two) slamming into the parking lot at full throttle and were usually accompanied by sparks and crowd ooh’s and ahh’s.
The race moved pretty fast and spectating was a blast. One problem I found was that batteries were hardly used after 1 race so I tended to use the same pack for 3-4 races. A better way would be to bring a charger and top each battery after a race.
This type of racing will require a whole new type of frame design and electronics needs as overall acceleration and top speed are much more important than agility.
Personally, I think a 1 lap high-speed track with simple flowing obstacles would increase the overall fun as quads are made to fly in 3 dimensions and not just straight lines, but this was still very fun. GoodTimesFPV has mentioned that this is a likely possibility for a future race as well as adding Christmas tree starting lights like a real car drag race, so I’m looking forward to that.
What do you racers think? How can we improve this? I would like to get ideas so we can try them out and give feedback.