FPV Drone Racing Leagues offer a way for FPV racing pilots to compete for titles, prizes, and clout. Ultimately, doing well in these leagues means winning races. We break down how the major FPV leagues work, how you can get involved, and what you need to do to become the world's fastest FPV pilot. Want to be the next MCK, Killian, or Vanover? Your FPV racing journey starts here.
FPV Racing Leagues
There's a wide variety of FPV racing leagues across the world. There are the large, institutional leagues like DRL and MultiGP, but also smaller local leagues that you can find through Facebook and your local hobby shops. You can compete in any league you want as long as you meet the league's requirements, and there is nothing keeping you from participating in more than one league, other than your own time. Rules for each league change year-to-year, so make sure to check out the official league websites for the latest information.
Drone Racing League (DRL)
The Drone Racing League is arguably the most well known FPV racing league. If your goal is to become the best FPV racer, doing well in DRL is a requirement.
DRL is a tiered league that is composed of both IRL (in real life) races and Sim (Simulator) races where competitors race using the same quad provided by DRL, like the Racer 4. Both types of racing are comprised of Levels, which are single races of multiple heats in which competitors race to earn Season Points and the title of Level Champion. The pilot with the most Season Points at the end of the DRL season is crowned the new DRL World Champion.
The DRL season typically starts with a Qualifier Circuit open to anyone interested, where racers compete to land one of 64 spots to move into Stage 1 of the Semifinals.
In Semifinals Stage 1, two IRL groups compete and two Sim groups compete. The IRL groups race to determine the top six who move on to Stage 2. The Sim groups are given 30 minutes in individual time trials to practice and record their best time. The top six move on to Stage 2.
In Semifinals Stage 2, the two groups of six race, and the top three of each group move on to the Finals.
Sudden Death is a single heat that happens if fewer than three pilots from each group in the Semifinals Stage 2 don't qualify for the finals. In Sudden Death, pilots who have not won a Semifinal heat compete to secure the remaining slots in the Finals.
In the Finals, six pilots compete in six heats. Pilots placing first in a heat automatically advance to the Golden Heat. Pilots who place twice in second-place advance to the Golden Heat.
In the Golden Heat, pilots race in a single heat to determine the winner of the Level and is crowned Level Champion.
Throughout the 13 Levels across the DRL season, the pilot with the most Season Points is crowned DRL World Champion.
DRL is a must for anyone who wants to become a FPV drone racer. The DRL Simulator is a low-investment effort to learn the ropes with a path to become the best in the world.
In 2023, the Qualifier Circuit started on July 3rd, and the Finals concluded on July 14th. Sign up for DRL's newsletter to be the first to know about the qualifiers.
MultiGP is a global FPV racing league that focuses more on in-person racing. As such, they have the widest network of Chapters — local racing groups affiliated with MultiGP. MultiGP provides the framework allowing for standardized racing across distributed local Chapters. Unlike DRL, in which pilots race the exact same drone, MultiGP provides class requirements. You can fly any quad as long as you conform to the class requirements for a corresponding event or race type.
MultiGP holds several main events throughout the year, but most notable is the National MultiGP Drone Racing Championship. This is how the format works:
Pre-Global Qualifier: Racing in your local MultiGP chapter will give you a good idea of where you stand against your likely competitors, especially in your local Chapter's qualifiers.
Global Qualifier: Your ranking in this qualifier will determine whether you qualify for the national championship. Your local Chapters will host Global Qualifiers that feed into the global rankings. Your fastest three consecutive laps determine your ranking.
This MultiGP Racing Championship is split between Pro and Sportsman classes.
- Pro: The top-ranked 150 pilots qualify.
- Sportsman: The pilots ranked between 151-300 qualify.
The Sports Class races take place one weekend, and the Pro Championship takes place the following weekend.
Both the Pro and Sports races follow the same format:
The top 64 Pro Pilots and 52 Sportsman pilots race to make it into brackets called Mains, from E Main to A Main.
E Main: Pilots placing 49 to 64 race in E Main. The top four pilots advance to D Main. E Main does not exist/apply in the Pro Championship since they start with fewer pilots.
D Main: Pilots placing 37 to 48 (Sports: 36 to 56) race in D Main. The top four pilots advance to C Main.
C Main: Pilots placing 25 to 36 and the top four pilots from D Main race. The top four pilots advance to B Main.
B Main: Pilots placing 13 to 24 and the top four pilots from C Main race. The top four pilots advance to A Main.
A Main: Pilots placing 1 to 12 and the top four pilots from B Main race. The top three make it to the podium.
The winner of the Pro Championship is crowned the MultiGP Drone Racing Champion.
Compared to DRL, MultiGP is great for those who want to be more involved in the racing community and fly real quads rather than in the simulator. The National Championships are just one of many events that MultiGP hosts. If you are interested in MultiGP, be sure to first look up your local MultiGP Chapter and start getting involved in local races.
Find races and local MultiGP Chapters at MultiGP.
Both DRL and MultiGP offer easy and low-barrier ways to get into drone racing and achieve the clout associated with winning. Depending on where you live, you may also want to compete in other leagues. There are leagues held by creators of FPV simulators like The Drone Champions League (DCL) and The Velocidrone Racing League (VCL). If you live near a hobby shop, they can also point you to racing communities.
How to Get into FPV Drone Racing
As you can probably tell by now, winning in any league requires winning races and/or accumulating points. Depending on the year, the meta may change, but your focus should be on winning races.
Getting into FPV drone racing is similar to getting into FPV in general. You can follow our beginners guide to FPV to get an idea of what's ahead.
Which League Should I Race In?
If you're debating between which of the two main leagues to participate in, you should choose the one with the larger community near you. If both DRL and MultiGP are available in your area, it comes down to your format preference and time commitment. MultiGP is a bracketed event in which you out race other competitors over a weekend. DRL is a season-long event of both online and offline races and generally consists of more races and events.
Practice in the Simulator
If you're aiming to become a FPV racer, spending time in the sim is the most important thing you can do. The more time you spend in the sim, the more likely you'll succeed. Start with DRL's Sim where you can race with others online.
Find Your Local Group
One of the best things about FPV racing is the communities it fosters. Local hobby shops often host racing events and leagues, and there is likely a FPV community near you. Your local FPV community is going to be your most connected and up-to-date on the races happening near you.
An easy way to find a group near you is looking for your local MultiGP chapter using their MultiGP Chapter search tool. Another way is to go on Facebook Groups and search for groups with the query: [City/town/metro] + FPV group.
Acquire Gear and Build Quad
Once you decide to make it out of the sim, you'll need to acquire a quad to practice in real life. If you've found your local group, you can go to your local meetups and races to practice.
When you inevitably crash, you'll need a suite of tools like a soldering iron and smoke stopper to fix your quad.
Practice, Practice, Practice
And it really does need to be said again. If you want to race, you need to practice. A lot. Don't get discouraged if you crash, we all do. If you don't crash, you're not improving. Get flying, crashing, fixing, and flying again. Report back when you've become a champ!
Becoming a FPV racing champion doesn't happen overnight. But becoming a top FPV pilot unlocks opportunities outside of racing. Many champions and top pilots become pilots for film production companies or start their own businesses providing FPV flight services.