Remember “Mario Kart”? Of course you do, you’re probably still playing it. Good. You’re ready for the emerging front in racing whimsical devices: drone races are growing into a tidy little subculture.
The Verge has a profile on the FPV League, one of the UK’s leading drone racing organizations. Composed largely of “men of mixed ages, wearing mostly jeans, T-shirts, and cargo shorts” who “work in the computer industry in one capacity or another,” the drone racing culture is rather subdued and quiet. Its distant future will of course look like Tokyo Drift with energy drink sponsorships, but it’s still young. There’s time for men to sit in the woods, alone with their thoughts and their video-feed goggles and maybe a $900 quadcopter they just junked flush against an elm.
The set-up for FPV looks almost exactly like friends hanging out playing “Gran Turismo,” but outdoors: pilots seated in foldable picnic chairs, with controllers in hand. Truly, a whole generation has prepared itself for virtual racing.
What will drone racing look like ten years from now? Will it fall in line with enthusiast/hobbyist circles like RC racing, or is there a possibility for Mountain Dew-sponsored summer extravaganzas with pop punk headliners? Will its top racers be Formula One polylingual international celebs, or regional NASCAR-grade superstars?
Or could South Park know best: that drones don’t exactly exude sex appeal.