Drone Racing League sets world record for fastest quadcopter

The DRL says its hand-built RacerX drone reached top speeds of 179.6 miles per hour.

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The DRL RacerX drone weighs just 800 grams.

Drone Racing League

The Drone Racing League (DRL), one of the preeminent groups working to make organized drone racing an official sport, has set a Guinness World Record for the fastest ground speed by a battery-powered quadcopter.

The DRL says its hand-built RacerX drone reached a never-before-seen top speed of 179.6 miles per hour.

In order to set the Guinness World Record achievement, the drone needed to fly back and forth across a measurement course of 100 m (328 ft.). The actual record is set as the average top speed achieved on each of those flights, which clocks in at 163.5 miles per hour.

On earlier flights, DRL said prototypes of the RacerX drone burst into flames due to the extreme battery heat at top speed.

"We're thrilled to put our proprietary technology to the test, as we're all about speed and pushing the limits of drone design here at DRL," said DRL founder and CEO Nicholas Horbaczewski. "The record-setting RacerX represents the culmination of years of technological innovation by our team of world class engineers, and we're very excited to unveil the fastest racing drone on earth."

Drone racing is still a niche interest among tech enthusiasts, but it's starting to gain momentum with mainstream audiences. Last year, the DRL snagged a deal with ESPN and ESPN2 to broadcast a full season of races, which are elaborate productions that mimic mainstream racing events. The group hopes to some day reach a level of notoriety akin to NASCAR.

DRL raised $8 million in funding in January 2016, another $1 million in September, and last month closed a Series B investment round totaling $20 million.

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