The Drone Racing League (DRL) has announced a partnership with BMW that includes development of a new racing drone and a championship season event at BMW’s Welt exhibition center in Germany.
The announcement comes a week after digital service provider Cox Communications added itself (and its Wi-Fi capabilities) to a sponsor roster that already included Swatch, Allianz, and Nikko Air. Aside from providing a new race course for the franchise’s competitors, BMW will help the league create the fastest drones in the world.
Last year, DRL had hand-built the reigning world-record holding vehicle, the RacerX, for its Allianz-sponsored world championships. BMW will collaborate with DRL to break the record, testing prototypes through the automotive maker’s wind tunnel.
Jörg Reimann, head of BMW International brand experience, said: “The partnership with DRL will enhance BMW’s racing involvement with future-oriented formats. Drone racing is a very competitive type of racing, characterised by the interplay of extremely high-performance material and digital technology. This represents an environment in which BMW has assumed a pioneering position for many years in its core business. We are very much looking forward to this collaboration and to the new event formats that we will be developing together with our partners.”
"We're thrilled to be partnering with BMW, a world-class motorsports brand with a rich legacy of innovation. We look forward to bringing the futuristic sport of drone racing to BMW Welt and putting our proprietary technology to the test to make history with BMW,” said DRL chief executive and founder Nicholas Horbaczewski.
DRL’s latest brand sponsor joined as the sport grows in mainstream legitimacy to match its 55 million fans worldwide. The league has struck broadcast deals in over 75 countries, including ESPN, Sky Sports, and Fox Sports Asia, as well as a live-stream deal with Twitch for its developmental DRL Simulator tryouts.
Horbaczewski considered the new partnerships a "huge step forward."
“With a strong heritage in auto racing and an incredible track record for technological innovation, BMW taps right into the speed and excitement of professional drone racing. Their partnership will help continue to deliver the sport of the future to new and growing audiences across the world while providing a dramatic race-backdrop that our 55 million+ global fans will love," he said.