Do you feel the need for FPV Drone speed? From ready-to-fly racers to custom record breakers, for 2018 we have collected all the fastest FPV Racing Drones together. Compare FPV drones on our leaderboard above, read on to learn how each drone uses its own approach in pursuit of speed and watch each FPV racing drone in action. If you already own an FPV Racing Drone and want to boost its top speed, check out our Faster Parts guide!
Fastest PNP FPV Drone: Diatone GT200 2017 – 99mph
A combination of high performance, great flight dynamics and easy setup make the Diatone GT200 2017 the easiest route to competitive FPV drone racing. A flight ready GT2 weighs 554g – with a claimed thrust between 1661g/motor, that gives the GT200 a thrust to weight ratio of 12 and a maximum speed of 99mph. The Crusader GT200 is also a hybrid – you can go racing but also carry a GoPro to capture high speed laps in 1080p resolution.
The partly built GT200 includes Edge 2306 2450KV motors, 30A BLHeli_S ESCs, Fury F3 flight controller, a HS1177 600TVL Sony camera, Power Distribution Board or ‘PDB’, SP2 40CH video transmitter and Gemfan 5 inch props. To go flying, just add a 4S battery/charger, radio handset/receiver and FPV goggles (see full parts list HERE). Diatone calls the GT200 ‘Plug & Play’ (PNP) because no soldering expertise is required to complete the build – just plug in a separately purchased receiver. The ARF GT200 comes in at $260 – add the missing kit and this rises to $395 (see full parts list HERE). Watch the GT200 hit 98mph in the video below.
Fastest Off-the-Shelf-Parts FPV Drone: Speedy Gonzalas – 145mph
On February 2nd 2017, builder and pilot Patrick Gaborik (Youtube handle ‘Wodi FPV‘) hit an insane 145 mph with the suitably named Speedy Gonzalas, confirmed with onboard GPS. Some have questioned the accuracy of the Speed Meter, but at the drag strip, its readings matched official measuring equipment. The record setting drone uses a 53g U180X frame, Emax 2306 2750kv motors producing 6.75kg thrust and a 6S battery (full parts list HERE).
With an all up weight of 570g, the Speedy Gonzalas boasts a thrust to weight ratio close to 12 : 1. The 6S battery delivers so much current the drone partially liquidises the solder in its electrical connections. Despite claiming the record, Patrick Gaborik thinks the Speedy Gonzalas will go faster with 6-inch props. Check out the DVR footage from the record setting run below.
Most powerful FPV Racing Drone: DRL Racer X – 164mph
n July 13th 2017, an official from Guinness World Records watched the Racer X by Drone Racing League (DRL) attempt a new high speed record for an FPV Racing Drone. To enter the record books, the Racer X had to fly back and forth across a 100m course, with the official record set as the average of the top speed achieved on each of those flights – the idea being the drone can’t just use tailwind to boost top speed.
Image via DRL
The Racer X reached an average top speed of 163.5 mph, with a maximum top speed of 179.3mph (indicating a significant tailwind). This was enough to earn the Racer X the title of Fastest ground speed by a battery-powered remote-control quadcopter in the Guinness World Records.
Image via DRL
Ryan Gury and a supporting team of engineers chose a monster powertrain for the Racer-X, with F80 motors producing >7.55kg thrust and a 10S lipo battery pack (2x 5S Tattu R-line batteries fused together) channeling up to 80A through BeeRotor ESCs (available parts list HERE). These heavy duty components push weight up to 800g, making this the heaviest FPV racing quadcopter.
However, lighter components just weren’t up to the task – early prototypes burst into flames during maximum acceleration trying to channel power from the battery. The Racer X also required a camera tilt of 80 degrees (the viewing angle required when approaching 200mph). Check out footage from the record setting run below.
Fastest FPV Racing Drone: VXR190 – 166mph
On August 10th 2017, RyanL and his VXR-190 hit an average speed of 165.8 mph following back to back opposite direction passes over a distance of 100m (links to data and analysis can be found on RotorBuilds HERE). The custom frame is a mix of cutting-edge and not so cutting-edge materials – hollow carbon fibre tube with a nose cone from an Easter egg. This unusual design provides an extremely low drag coefficient, whilst keeping the centre of gravity, thrust and pressure in alignment. Despite the strict focus on aerodynamics, the frame is a featherweight 48g – less than most conventional carbon plate frames (see our frame comparison table HERE).
Ryan selected Cobra CP 2207/2450 motors for the VXR-190, primarily for their high RPM, which he say’s is the largest factor for speed (not thrust). The Cobras achieve higher RPM because they draw less amps (due to efficiency) than other high RPM motors (see our fastest motor table HERE). This means the VXR-190 only required a 5S battery to hit 165.8 mph (the DRL Racer X required a 10S battery to hit 164 mph). The motors produce a combined thrust of 7376g, giving the 479.4g VXR-190 a massive thrust-to-weight ratio of 15.4.
Ryan says that for future record attempts, extra power from upgraded motors or batteries will provide only incremental gains in speed because the propellor tips on the VXR-190 (and Racer X) are now moving at supersonic speed (full article HERE). This causes huge turbulence between the supersonic and subsonic airflow, meaning any extra power is mostly converted to turbulence. Therefore, greater speeds will increasingly depend on propellor design that minimises this turbulence.
Fastest Circuit FPV Racing Drone: Nytfury’s ARC 200 – 75mph
ShaunTaylor (AKA ’Nytfury’) quit his job as a firefighter in 2016 to fly FPV full time, shortly after this he became FPV Drone Racing Champion (full story HERE). Shaun’s drone of choice is the 68g ARC 200 frame with 29g Viking 2600kv motors and super-slim Raptor 30A ESCs (full parts list HERE). Together they have won the MultiGP Championship, set the MultiGP UTT1 and UTT2 time trial World Record and qualified top at the French Drone Nationals.
Although the top speed of Shaun’s drone is unknown, other ARC 200 pilot’s are reporting speeds of 75 mph or 120 kmh. With a weight of only 458g (including battery), the ARC 200 boasts greater agility than the heavier Stigg 195 or MorpheusX 195, but surprisingly the thrust to weight ratio falls short at 9 : 1. On the up side, the total parts bill is a modest $434 (including everything for flight), fantastic value for what is a championship winning racer. Check out the speed and agility the ARC 200 piloted by Nytfury below.
Fastest Vertical Speed Drone: Gemo Copter – 119mph
From german researcher Dirk Brunner, the 906g Gemo Copter recorded a 119 mph or 189 kmh ascent speed. Let me repeat that – 119mph straight up! In the process, it claimed the Guinness world record for fastest 100m ascent by a drone (3.871 seconds). Dirk Brunner has perfected this drone over 20 years, immersing himself in mathematical models, physical models, software and component testing, all in the name of speed.
Dirk went so far as to test most components to destruction in carefully controlled ‘stress-tests’. The most difficult part of creating this record-breaker Dirk says was finding the best combination of motors and propellors. Dirk Brunner now offers a consultancy service, helping anyone with deep enough pockets to develop their own extreme drone. Check out this video of the record setting run!
$100 RACING DRONE BUILD
Build a Racing Drone for $100! This kit list compiled by UAVfutures will let you build a fast, race-ready FPV drone with a thrust-to-weight ratio of 9. COMPLETE parts list.