APEX amazes with win against XBlades in Drone Champions League thriller
For the second Drone Grand Prix in a row, the dominant team of the DCL – XBlades Racing of Great Britain – won the initial race only to be defeated in the next. At the Virtual Drone Grand Prix Proptown, USA, the successful challenger was APEX Racing of Denmark, who lost to XBlades on August 8, then came back to claim the top step of the podium on August 9. XBlades remain in the overall lead, so they are far from beaten in their quest for a fifth title in the World Championship of professional drone racing teams. But it’s now apparent that they are beatable.
Proptown (USA) – The second stop of the DCL Virtual Season was the fictional city of Proptown, USA, an environment that took nearly 2,000 hours to create. There, the eight teams faced the first purpose-built virtual Drone Grand Prix tracks in DCL history – two daytime and two nighttime.
The pilots had only the 45-minute Qualifying periods to learn the tracks, and APEX came out on top in both sessions, earning pole position for Saturday and Sunday.
When the action opened on Saturday, the racing was so tight that placement in one heat came down to ten-thousandths of a second. At the end of the day, with a single heat left in the Grand Final between XBlades and APEX, the score was tied. XBlades’ Ashton Gamble, just 14, had the race of his young life, claiming the win to secure his team a 7-6 victory. APEX was second, and Quad Force One, who had scored a race win over XBlades at the season opener, was third.
On Sunday, XBlades defeated Quad Force One in the Semi Finals for the second consecutive day, then launched a Grand Final rematch with APEX. Neither team gave an inch, and just when it seemed like XBlades might pull away, Tomass Petersons of APEX stepped up and found another level, winning the last four heats to give the Danish team a 9-7 triumph.
Now XBlades lead the overall standings with 940 points. Immediately behind are Quad Force One and APEX, tied in the points at 870 each. The 70-point gap to the top is less than the points on offer for a mere fifth-place finish (80), making the World Championship well within reach. In fourth place with 530 points, Falcons Racing of Korea are also hunting a spot in the top three.
The new Proptown racetracks are a pilot’s dream, with the Virtual Season enabling developers to include features such as dives and corkscrews never before seen in any drone racing series. The same tracks will be available for anyone to play in DCL – The Game: The tracks from Saturday’s race will be available from Monday, 10 August, while Sunday’s tracks can be accessed beginning Monday, 17 August.
Since 2016, DCL has brought together the planet’s best drone pilots, who compete on eight international teams in spectacular settings globally – and this year the season is virtual. Each race is broadcast live, worldwide on TV and online. Anyone can battle for a place in the DCL Draft Selection by playing DCL – The Game, available for PC/Mac, Playstation 4 and Xbox One.
Next: The second half of the DCL season takes off with the Virtual Drone Grand Prix, Great Wall of China, on Saturday and Sunday, 22-23 August, at 08:00 UTC, on juked.gg.
Keep up with the DCL all year long at www.dcl.aero and DCL social channels.
QUOTES Ashton Gamble, XBlades Racing “It’s almost like real life. We’re flying head to head, and it’s super tight as always. All the pressure’s on, but that’s my favorite thing, when it’s all the pressure, all or nothing. It’s neck and neck – you see all the quads together. My team was like, ‘Go Faster!’ And sure enough, we made it happen.”
Tomass Petersons, APEX Racing “Our team is doing a really great job. I’m proud of them. It felt really good in those tracks, and I’m so happy. The XBlades are a fast team – there were just milliseconds between us. We learned from yesterday, and this time we stepped up more.”
MinChan Kim, XBlades Racing “I’ve been practicing 10 hours a day, but it’s still super hard. Everyone’s so good that I’m nervous. I just tried pushing my limits. I will keep practicing so much harder for the next race – more than 10 hours a day. APEX was so strong. But I was proud of us, and we can do better next time.”
Alex Campbell, Quad Force One “Everybody’s going as fast as they can, and it’s just a roll of the dice to see who finishes and who doesn’t. You’re going to go as fast as you can, and sometimes you wreck, sometimes you don’t. We can get up there and run with just about anybody, I think. It just comes down to who trains the most and who has that little bit of luck at the end of the day.”
RESULTS SATURDAY, Drone Grand Prix Proptown, USA 2020: 1. XBlades Racing (GBR) 250 points, 2. APEX Racing (DEN) 220 pts, 3. Quad Force One (USA) 200 pts, 4. Falcons Racing (KOR) 150 pts, 5. Raiden Racing (JPN) 80 pts, 6. China Dragons (CHN) 0, 7. Hot Props (USA) 0, 8. Drone Sports Global (RUS) 0
RESULTS SUNDAY, Drone Grand Prix Proptown, USA 2020: 1. APEX Racing (DEN) 250 points, 2. XBlades Racing (GBR) 220 pts, 3. Quad Force One (USA) 200 points, 4. Falcons Racing (KOR) 150 pts, 5. Raiden Racing (JPN) 80 pts, 6. Hot Props (USA) 0, 7. China Dragons (CHN) 0, 8. Drone Sports Global (RUS) 0
OVERALL STANDINGS, Drone Champions League 2020: 1. XBlades Racing (GBR) 940 points, 2. Quad Force One (USA) 870 pts, 3. APEX Racing (DEN) 870 pts, 4. Falcons Racing (KOR) 530 pts, 5.Raiden Racing (JPN) 390 pts, 6. China Dragons (CHN) 0, 7. Drone Sports Global (RUS) 0, 8. Indrone (ESP) 0, 8. Hot Props (USA) 0Drone Champions League Virtual Season Calendar 2020 18-19 July: Breitling Virtual Drone Grand Prix Vaduz, Liechtenstein 08-09 August: Virtual Drone Grand Prix Proptown, USA 22-23 August: Virtual Drone Grand Prix, Great Wall of China 03-04 October: McDonald’s Virtual Drone Grand Prix, Lake Zurich & Laax, Switzerland
About DCL The Drone Champions League (DCL) is the recognized championship for professional drone racing teams: an innovative race series that blurs the lines between virtual and reality. Since 2016 the DCL has drawn the world’s best drone pilots, who qualify for each race in DCL -The Game and then go on to compete on international teams in spectacular real-life settings, from global capitals to surreal natural wonders.
The LED-lit racing drones dart through the custom tracks head-to-head, reaching speeds of more than 160 km/h as the pilots fly them using virtual reality goggles. First to the finish wins, and margins are breathtakingly tight. Each DCL race is broadcast live, worldwide on TV and online. In 2020, DCL will take their season to the virtual world and has recreated real-life cities inside DCL – The Game.
DCL partners include Red Bull, Breitling, myWorld, and IQONIQ. For more information: www.dcl.aero
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