The Drone Champions League (DCL), the world’s premier professional drone racing organization, is set for further expansion in the Gulf Region following an exciting and dramatic winter season final in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The event, spread out over two days from November 17-18, featured six of the best DCL teams competing together on a brand-new virtual track based on the real-world location of the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. British team Xblades came out on top, narrowly beating the newest team to enter the league, American-based Cyclone. The two teams will be among those facing off next month for the DCL Super Final 2023, on December 20, with the venue to be unveiled shortly.

In a sign of the league’s growth, the Abu Dhabi event also saw DCL secure ASPIRE as a sponsor of the league. ASPIRE is the technology development pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council. The partnership will see the DCL work closely with ASPIRE’s Autonomous Racing League (A2RL), furthering knowledge-exchange and promotion between the leagues.

As part of the agreement, two new events in Abu Dhabi will be added to DCL’s 2024 calendar, in April and November next year. More information of the 2024 calendar will be announced following the culmination of the 2023 season.

Markus Stampfer, Board member of Drone Champions AG, which organizer the DCL, said: “This event in Abu Dhabi has taken our league to new levels. Having the pilots together in person again, playing on a brand-new virtual track, created a fantastic celebration for our league, which continues to lead the way in excitement, technology and globality. We can’t wait for our Super Final next month and to announce our plans for the 2024 season soon. We are already looking forward to being back in Abi Dhabi next year.”

Swan Versmissen, pilot of the winning Xblades team, added: “Racing in the DCL continues to be the ultimate thrill. We’re a supportive community and to be able to enjoy races such as this one on-site, in person, only strengthens our teams and the league as a whole. As a team, we’re of course delighted to have come out on top of really tough competition, and we know it’ll be a great battle again next month, and next season.”

Dr. Tom McCarthy, Executive Director at ASPIRE, said: “Drone racing is quickly capturing the public imagination, and drones today are gaining uptake in multiple sectors, including in e-commerce delivery, last mile logistics, environmental best practices, and disaster search and rescue efforts. With A2RL, ASPIRE is combining autonomous robotics, AI, and extreme sports to advance the future of mobility. We were delighted to support DCL in their drone gaming competition, which brings attention to the sport, and we look forward to collaborating with them on future endeavors.”