Multi GP Announces National Drone Championship Race Location

FPV pilots could get the exposure of a lifetime at the Reno Air Races.

Multi GP
FPV Pilot Ted Drake's Raceflight Orca at take off during a Brevard Multi GP Points Race.Palm View Photography/ Tabatha Harbour

Following a recent trend of FPV races being held at air shows like U.S. Sport and Aviation Show in Sebring, Sun 'n Fun and even a rumored race coming up at Oshkosh, Multi GP seems to have saved the best for last. Following a 5-month Regional Qualifying and Final Series, 150 of the fastest FPV pilots in the country will converge to race at three different locations at the National Championship Air Races in Reno.

Chris Thomas, Multi GP President and Founder, announced in the 11th installment of Multi GP News on YouTube that the National Championship would be held in Reno, Nevada this year. That has been rumored for a while now, but the real news came when Thomas revealed that the Championships would be held in conjunction with the Reno Air Races, which brings in over 150,000 attendees and is broadcast live on NBC Sports.

Which location a pilot races at depends entirely on how they got there. The beauty of the Multi GP Nationals Championships is that you can get there one of five ways. You can qualify first or second at a Regional Finals, finish third through sixth at a Regional Finals, make the Regional Finals List, have a qualifying time on two of the five Universal Time Trial tracks, or your name is Shaun "NytFury" Taylor. Let me explain.

Undoubtedly the most coveted way of getting to Nationals is by finishing first or second at a Regional Final, which consists of 35 pilots who have all qualified at a regional qualifier. By finishing first or second you have earned the right to go straight to the championship track, which is raced on the final day. The benefit to qualifying for nationals this way, other than the obvious fact of guaranteed to race in the Final Fast 52 group, is that you get an unprecedented amount of practice time on what is billed to be one of the most epic open-field tracks ever assembled, which should come as no surprise considering that’s exactly what last year’s championship track was.

Multi GP
From left to right: Second place Region 2B Finalist Abel "Navihawk" Almaguer, first place Region 2B Finalist Chris "Flykux" Bevan and Third place Region 2B Finalist Elio "EMDrones" Mella.Palm View Photography/ Tabatha Harbour

By finishing third, fourth, fifth or sixth at a Regional Final you earn the right to race on site against 59 other third-, fourth-, fifth- or sixth-place Regional Finalist. Of that group of 60 pilots, 12 advance to the Fast 52 group that will race the Championship Track on the final day.

To make what is referred to as The List, you have to have first competed at a Regional Final. The list is comprised of every pilot who competed at a Regional Final but did not finish in the top six spots. By taking the best three rounds of each pilot across all 13 regions—total laps and total time of those laps, the latter only used for tiebreakers—the top 30 pilots are invited to compete on site against the 30 pilots who also qualify through UTT times.

To be one of the 30 UTT-entry pilots who can compete on site you have to score below a set threshold on two of the five possible UTT tracks. The current thresholds for each of the five UTT tracks are listed below:

  • UTT 1 < 11.5 seconds
  • UTT 2 < 8.5 seconds
  • UTT 3 < 8.5 seconds
  • UTT 4 < 10 seconds
  • UTT 5 < 7 seconds

While there is some speculation as to whether or not all 30 UTT spots will be filled, considering a lot of the pilots fast enough to achieve these times will most likely qualify another way, a lot of pilots are already attacking the time trials. Why? Because as soon as all 30 UTT tickets are sold, it doesn’t matter if you get the qualifying times or not.

Only 12 of the 60 pilots competing at the site of the UTT and List qualifiers will move on to the Fast 52 group for the final day of racing on the Championship Track.

The last way in is the be last year’s champion, earning a trip straight to the Championship Track. This year that right belongs to the two-time, back-to-back National Champion and reigning World Champion (DSA Worlds 1st place), Shaun Taylor.

Of course, Multi GP will make sure the best possible trophy will be on hand if you win at the Regional Finals. Taking a que from DSA’s huge success at Drone Worlds, they make sure to keep it local.