Marco Matthai Wins The 2018 Barcelona Drone Racing F3U World Cup

After a hard-fought contest that culminated with a fast and furious day of eliminations, Marco Matthai – Vilano FPV – was crowned winner of the Barcelona Drone Racing F3U World Cup 2018 in Les Comes, Spain yesterday.

He beat off competition from some 70 pilots from all over Europe, some of whom travelled from as far afield as Russia and Macedonia. But despite his impressive performance, the 25-year-old German pilot has only been flying for a year.

Like all those taking part, he loved the track, which he suggests may have contributed to his success. “I’m not used to this style of track,” Matthai said. “It has a lot of space and is very fast; I liked it. I was getting better and better. My final run was my best: perfect timing!”

He is now hoping to continue in the same style – perhaps all the way to the 1st FAI World Drone Racing Championships in China later this year. “If I can repeat it maybe I can qualify for the World Championships in Shenzen,” he said.

However, Matthai, who urges all drone racing fans to “get a drone and fly, you need as much stick time as possible”, was not the only pilot to show some serious skills at this event.

Saturdays qualifications had seen the young winner of the 2018 WDR Paris World Cup, Killian Rousseau, post the fastest lap, putting him in pole position as he went into the last 32.

But Rousseau crashed out on the first lap of the final, dashing his hopes of another World Cup win in Spain. He therefore finished fourth in the closely fought race, behind Polish pilot Jan Wielgosz in second place, and Rui Antunes from Portugal in third position.

The competition was held at the outdoor centre of Les Comes north of Barcelona, which is blessed with a natural bowl perfect for racing.

The track made use of the terrain with sections negotiating obstacles such as trees as well as man-made tunnels and gates, and was located in a natural hollow that afforded spectators a fantastic view of the action.

Freespace Drone Racing, which has recently signed a deal with the FAI, also wowed the fans with giant drone demonstration races showing just how visually exciting these larger drones are for the crowds. Measuring half a metre long, they are easy to follow and sound equally impressive.

Many congratulations to all the competitors and the winners – and thanks to everyone who worked on and attended this fantastic event!

1. Marco Matthai from Germany
2. Jan Wielgosz from Poland
3. Rui Antunes from Portugal
4. Killian Rousseau from France
5. Bastian Hackl from Austria

Introducing the FS500 Exhibition Event at the FAI Drone Racing World Cup

While all eyes will be on Les Comes in July for the Barcelona F3U World Cup, a much anticipated part of the programme is the Freespace FS500 Exhibition Event.

The FS500 V2.0 design has been significantly improved from the V1.0 to achieve similar performance to the current racing spec 250 quads, while providing the spectators with a larger drone to follow.

Although comparable in performance, the FS500 is a little less agile than a 250 racer. However this is actually a positive characteristic in that its flight is more flowing and natural looking in the air, making the FS500 much easier to follow with the naked eye. One of the specific aims of the FS500 is to create a much more visually appealing experience for the live fans. This will also flow through to the broadcast audience with the aim of widening drone racings mainstream appeal and attracting further sponsorship into the sport.

The FS500 is a highly refined aircraft weighing 2kg with up to 5kW of motor power at it’s disposal. The power train consists of a 6s 3000mAh graphene battery driving custom 900 kV motors through a 50A ESC. Fitted with 10″ x 5.5″ props the FS500 has a maximum aircraft thrust just over 12kg.

It sports a robust and aerodynamic polycarbonate fairing, with plenty of room for sponsor logos, on a carbon fibre chassis rounded out with a Dual camera system running a broadcast HD alongside a pilot feed.

The FAI Les Comes FS500 Exhibition Event will consist of 4 teams, each running the same spec FS500 in is a series of practice sessions throughout the weekend, culminating in a final event on the Sunday which is 20 minutes in length.

The Teams and Pilots will be announced shortly.

Stay tuned for more information.