Can The World’s Fastest Camera Drone Match F1 Champion Max Verstappen?

A specialist team created the “world’s fastest” first-person-view (FPV) camera drone and then attempted to keep up with Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen as he tested his new Red Bull RB20 around the Silverstone circuit.

In just four seconds, the drone can reach an incredible speed of 186 miles per hour (300 kilometers per hour) and has a top speed of over 217 miles per hour (350 kilometers per hour) — all while maintaining a steady camera shot.

The technology was created by Dutch Drone Gods along with pilot Ralph Hogenbirk, better known as Shaggy FPV. It took a year to develop the high-performance drone and they recently tested it out against the world’s fastest driver Max Verstappen.

Drone Versus F1 Car

The drone was developed alongside Red Bull Advanced Technologies which designed and manufactured lightweight aerodynamic fairings and structural motor mount arms to help reduce the drone’s total mass by approximately 10 percent.

F1 champion Max Verstappen and the world’s fastest camera drone.

They began testing it against a Formula 1 car driven by former Grand Prix winner David Coulthard and Red Bull’s reserve driver Liam Lawson. Incredibly, the drone blitzed an older F1 car in a drag race.

But following three-time F1 world champion Max Verstappen around the challenging Silverstone circuit in the U.K. is a different matter entirely as the drone will have to follow at incredible speeds while also decelerating massively in the corners.

world's fastest camera drone

Verstappen against drone

Verstappen versus drone
The drone chases reserve driver Liam Lawson.

First up, the drone was racing against reserve driver Liam Lawson and initially things went badly when the drone lost signal and crash-landed; partly caused by the air turbulence that modern F1 cars create.

The pilot is navigating the drone’s flight route with a radio controller, observing the flight path only through FPV goggles transmitting a low-resolution drone’s eye view. The camera angle is then adjusted simultaneously with a foot pedal, requiring precision in hand-to-eye coordination to deliver a smooth close-up shot of an F1 car — a new challenge for the pilot Shaggy FPV.

“This is a special drone because this is the only one with a fitted camera and goes this fast. It’s fully custom built, it’s one-of-a-kind that we have developed,” says Shaggy FPV.

“It is a very challenging project to create a drone that’s fast enough to keep up and keep the car in full frame, whilst capturing the shot in an interesting way. This was definitely the craziest shoot I’ve done so far.”

Drone Versus Max Verstappen

When the day came to race Verstappen, it was wet which gave the drone a little advantage but incredibly it was able to keep up with the RB20.

Shaggy FPV had to watch out for bridges around the circuit as he kept up with the world champion who was thoroughly impressed with the camera angle.

Shaggy FPV Ralph Hogenbrik and Max Verstappen.
Shaggy FPV Ralph Hogenbrik and Max Verstappen.

“For the pilot, there are a lot of things that you need to take into account, for example avoiding bridges and to anticipate our braking points, as we have a brake pedal but in the air, it works differently. So, it’s very stressful I think to be that focussed,” says Verstappen.

“This kind of shot’s never really been done before. The quality is really good. I never thought I would see a drone going that quick. It gives you a different perspective to watching Formula 1. This could change how people watch Formula 1.”

To watch the footage the drone captured, play the video at the top of this article.

Image credits: Red Bull Content Pool