XBlades claim fifth straight Drone Champions League title


British powerhouse clinches the official World Championship of professional drone racing teams at the McDonald’s Virtual Drone Grand Prix Lake Zurich, Switzerland.

It came down to the last day of the 2020 campaign, but Great Britain’s XBlades Racing out-flew their toughest season rivals to celebrate a five-title streak that will go down in drone racing history. Denmark’s APEX Racing took the runner-up spot for the second year in a row, with the USA’s Quad Force One just 20 points behind in third overall. Here is all you need to know. 

  • Coming into the season’s final Drone Grand Prix, it was clear that XBlades, APEX and Quad Force One would be the teams on the World Championship podium, but the order was up for grabs. XBlades served notice that they did not intend to let their 120-point lead slip away when they captured the best spots in the racing brackets by topping both Qualifying sessions.
  • In Saturday’s Semi-Finals, XBlades easily swatted away Quad Force One,15:1. But their win over APEX in the Grand Final was hard fought. XBlades pilot Ashton Gamble said: “That was probably one of the hardest races ever. It was so close! When we knew we won, we lost our voices from screaming.” Final race result: XBlades 1st, APEX 2nd, Raiden Racing (JPN) 3rd.
  • On Sunday, it was APEX Racing’s turn to face the British defenders in the Semis, and when XBlades star MinChan Kim almost immediately broke a track record, the writing was on the wall, with the Danes losing 16-1. The show of dominance only continued in the Grand Final, as the British team rolled over Quad Force One 15:3 despite a valiant effort from the Americans. Final race result: XBlades 1st, Quad Force One 2nd, Raiden Racing 3rd.
  • The pilots flying for the XBlades across the season were MinChan Kim, Ashton Gamble, Killian Rousseau, Alex Zamora, Luke Bannister and Owen Knight. Kim, who was a star acquisition for XBlades this year after previously racing for Korea, captured the 2020 Pilot of the Year award by just one point over Gamble.
  • After four previous campaigns flying real drones for crowds in spectacular global locations, DCL’s first-ever virtual World Championship raised the stakes this year, putting the emphasis squarely on pilot skill without the factor of drone technology. In taking the 2020 title, XBlades have cemented their legacy as all-around legends.
  • 2020 marked an impressive turnaround for 2018 runners-up Quad Force One, who were plagued by technical issues last season, as well as for Japan’s Raiden Racing, who finished a strong fourth in the 2020 World Championship after failing to score a single point in 2019.
  • DCL brings together the planet’s best drone pilots on eight international teams, and is the only professional drone racing series broadcast live worldwide on TV and online. A total 57 pilots of 21 nationalities competed across the four Drone Grand Prix events of 2020, including the McDonald’s Wildcard Team that represented Switzerland and Liechtenstein at Lake Zurich. Anyone can battle for a place in the DCL Draft Selection by playing DCL – The Game.
  • The McDonald’s Virtual Drone Grand Prix Lake Zurich, Switzerland featured four creative and exceptionally challenging tracks. From a plunge down Rapperswil Castle to fiendish gates over the water, all of the Swiss tracks will be available to play in DCL – The Game. Stay tuned to DCL social channels for release dates.

Watch for the Rookie of the Year announcement, the 2021 calendar and DCL updates all year long at www.dcl.aero and DCL social channels.

 

QUOTES:

MinChan Kim, 2020 World Champion XBlades Racing (GBR), 2020 DCL Pilot of the Year
“My hands were shaking, but I did my best and I still can’t believe we got the World Championship. I cannot wait for the next DCL race next year.”

Harry Plested, Team Manager, 2020 World Champion XBlades Racing
“I’m so proud of these guys. The performance they’ve shown is incredible through pressure throughout the season. And to be able to bring all of their real-life skills into the online season, it’s just incredible. I couldn’t be more thankful to have such a team.”

Glen Bales, Team Manager of second-place overall APEX Racing (DEN)
“Quite honestly, XBlades’ pace this weekend has been absolutely incredible. We would have needed some extraordinary circumstances for them to lose the title fight, so we focused instead on trying to get second place. We’ll have to bring it to them next time instead.”

Alex “Chief” Campbell, third-place overall Quad Force One (USA)
“I’m not disappointed. Just not going through what we went through last year was more than I could ask for. I had a good time with the boys, it was fun, it was a good season – and we were really close to APEX.”

 

RESULTS SATURDAY, McDonald’s Virtual Drone Grand Prix, Lake Zurich, Switzerland, 2020: 1. XBlades Racing (GBR) 250 points, 2. APEX Racing (DEN) 220 pts, 3. Raiden Racing (JPN) 200 pts, 4. Quad Force One (USA) 150 pts, 5. Falcons Racing (KOR) 80 pts, 6. China Dragons (CHN) 0, 7. Drone Sports (RUS) 0, 8. McDonald’s Wildcard (SUI/LIE) 0

RESULTS SUNDAY, McDonald’s Virtual Drone Grand Prix, Lake Zurich, Switzerland, 2020: 1. XBlades Racing (GBR) 250 points, 2. Quad Force One (USA) 220 pts, 3. Raiden Racing (JPN) 200 pts. 4. APEX Racing (DEN) 150 points, 5. Falcons Racing (KOR) 80 pts, 6. China Dragons (CHN) 0, 7. Drone Sports Global (RUS) 0, 8. McDonald’s Wildcard (SUI/LIE) 0

FINAL STANDINGS, Drone Champions League Virtual Season 2020: 1. XBlades Racing (GBR) 1,910 points, 2. APEX Racing (DEN) 1,660 pts, 3. Quad Force One (USA) 1,640 pts, 4.  Raiden Racing (JPN) 1,070 pts, 5. Falcons Racing (KOR) 920 pts, 6. China Dragons (CHN) 0, 7. Drone Sports Global (RUS) 0, 8. Hot Props (USA) 0, 8. Indrone (ESP) 0, 8. CREW (CHN) 0, 8. McDonald’s Wildcard (SUI/LIE) 0

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Drone Champions League Virtual Season Calendar 2020

18-19 July:                Breitling Virtual Drone Grand Prix Vaduz, Liechtenstein

8-9 August:               Virtual Drone Grand Prix Proptown, USA

22-23 August:            Virtual Drone Grand Prix, Great Wall of China

3-4 October:              McDonald’s Virtual Drone Grand Prix Lake Zurich, Switzerland

 

About DCL 

The Drone Champions League (DCL) is the World Championship for professional drone racing teams: an innovative race series that blurs the lines between virtual and reality. Since 2016, DCL has drawn the world’s best drone pilots, who qualify for each Drone Grand Prix 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. An annual draft selection opens the door to any DCL – The Game player to be recruited into a pro team.

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 takes the season to the virtual world, recreating famous cities, and imagining fantastic new ones, inside DCL – The Game.

DCL partners include Breitling, myWorld and IQONIQ. For more information: www.dcl.aero

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