Portugal Drone Race (PDR) is on the up and up.
PDR is very much at the forefront of the emerging drone racing scene in the country, and last weekend bore witness to a showcase in collaboration with the 1200+ attendees Landing.jobs festival taking place on the marina near Oriente in Lisboa.
The showcase, which drew a crowd of fascinated spectators throughout the afternoon, took place directly on the waterfront and included five pilots showing off their skills doing heats, time trials and some seriously impressive free styling too.
PDR mentor Carlos Estevão told Third Law Sports about his own background as a racer and how PDR got started. He said: “It’s very much in its infancy and has only been going for around four months. In this short time though we’ve come a long way, signed up a number of sponsors… with more on the horizon.”
“I fly drones myself and aim to start competing in the not too distant future so it’s great to be involved in something I love doing on a personal level. My background in drones is also in the form of providing aerial video production for property development for imovideo.pt. In terms of organizing drones racing my interest stemmed from not only a fascination of the technology involved but also the challenge involved in creating a whole new environment where races can unfold. There is a huge space, one that is practically empty, to make drone races in showy events, which appeal to the public and in turn are desirable to brands.”
“First we’re looking to build our brand, increase the number of pilots and grow the local scene before we launch into more competitive events further afield.”
José Nunes, Marketing and PR of PDR, had this to add: “Team PDR were delighted with how the Landing.jobs event went down.”
He continued: “Setting up in the marina environment was a big challenge for our team and a first in Portugal but we knuckled down, got it done and it was a definite success. The pilots loved the challenge too; going a little off course had the potential to result in an unwanted dip in the water after all but it was a fun day all around.”
“Most importantly we were able to show a lot of new spectators what drone racing is all about and just how exciting it can be!”
PDR’s successes to date are evidence of the potential of drone racing in the European marketplace. There’s an abundance of talented pilots and an intrigued audience in addition to sponsors willing to back events which all makes for a potentially explosive local scene.
Of events they have coming up Nunes said: “We’ll be at Lisbon’s Maker Faire later this month and then in July we’ll be at the Gaia Drone Festival near Porto for one day. This looks set to be a fantastic event and we can’t wait to be involved.”