Drone Champions League 2021 preview: New format, calendar and more

The 2021 season of the Drone Champions League will be like no other, launching its first hybrid campaign with both virtual and real-life racing at over 160 km/h. Across seven global locations, the recognised world championship of professional drone racing teams will feature an intense new format, an exciting new team, the inaugural DCL Women’s Cup, and more big surprises.

The new season of DCL action will see the reigning champion XBlades of Great Britain fight to defend their crown against the world’s top teams in the series’ biggest challenge yet: a hybrid season that will demand both virtual and real-life flying prowess, all streamed live globally on Twitch and IQIYI.

The battle for the DCL World Championship 2021 begins in June with a return to the virtual landscape of Proptown, USA, followed by a July stop replicating the castle ruins at Reutte, Austria. In August the online format moves to the iconic location of the Great Wall of China before zipping back to a venue from the creative minds of the developers, Oilbando, USA in September. October will include virtual stops in Laax, Switzerland and another destination in China to be disclosed, before the champions are crowned at November’s season finale, planned in Mexico City, Mexico. 

Fresh format
In 2021 DCL unveils a new race format to ramp up the excitement from the get-go. Each Drone Grand Prix will now begin with the heightened unpredictability of round robin competition, rather than seeded brackets. Across multiple tracks in all, pilots from seven opposing teams will clash, two by two, in Small Heats. The two teams with the highest scores will face the ultimate showdown in the Grand Final, while those with the third- and fourth-best results will race for the last podium spot in their own final. Both podium finals will include a climactic Big Heat, with all pilots flying at the same time.

Women’s Cup
To inspire girls and women and grow the entire FPV (first-person view) community, in 2021 DCL introduces its first-ever Women’s Cup, which will run in parallel to the DCL World Championship. While all genders are eligible to participate across the range of DCL series, the platform is being launched particularly to spotlight female talent, offering the opportunity to enjoy support from a DCL team and demonstrate their drone-racing skills for a global audience of millions.

New team
Joining the DCL lineup in 2021 is Spain’s SDT EUROFLYTEC team. Having captured nearly every national title available, and with experience as guest competitors at two previous DCL Drone Grand Prix stops, the Spanish crew are eager to take on the best teams in the world for their first full season.

New pilots

While fans can look forward to seeing DCL favourites like MinChan Kim, Luke Bannister and MinJae Kim back in action, the teams have also recruited new faces. The DCL Draft gives everyone the chance to become a professional drone racing pilot by showing their skills in DCL – The Game, and after weeks of in-game grinding, 100 candidates advanced to the team selection phase. The drafted pilots are already at work with their new teams.

Interview series
In addition to its race broadcasts, the DCL is launching a new talk show interview series, “What the Kwad?!” with team members and others discussing a variety of topics around sports, tech and more. “What the Kwad?!” will also stream live on Twitch. Rewatch the first episode here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1051897738

“We are thrilled to start DCL’s 2021 campaign, which will be the first-ever hybrid season in drone racing. With both virtual and real-life races on the calendar, we are so happy to bring the sport of drone racing to our fans across the globe again in these challenging times!” says Benedikt Brandmeier, Head of Sales and Business Development for the Drone Champions League. “The growth in audience and engagement throughout our virtual season last year showed us that combining both worlds would fascinate not only our teams and ourselves, but ultimately our community. Taking this to another level is our aim for this season, and we can’t wait to kick it off!”

Each DCL race is broadcast live, worldwide on TV and online.

For information on how to watch in person or live on TV and online: www.dcl.aero.

For more information on DCL – The Game: dcl.aero/game/features/


Drone Champions League Hybrid Season 2021: https://dcl.aero/races/calendar/?racetype=live

20 June:            Proptown, USA

25 July:             Reutte, Austria

15 August:        Great Wall, China

19 September:  Oilbando, USA

17 October:      Laax, Switzerland

31 October:      Undisclosed, China

28 November:   Mexico City, Mexico