What's that up in the sky? A bird? A plane? Nope! It's a world-record setting drone racing above the Goodwood circuit...

Goodwood Festival of Speed is underway! Now in its 25th year, the annual event packs petrol heads together at the famous racetrack for a weekend of adrenaline-fuelled action, and this year we’ve been in attendance – in more ways than one.

We’ve already detailed the secret science behind bringing high speed mobile data to such a packed event, and now we’re back with something even speedier: breaking a drone-racing world record…

The need for speed

Allow us to present the Vodafone Xblades Racing drone – The Wingcopter XBR. It’s speedy, it’s nimble, and it’s our ticket to a new world record: fastest ground speed by a ‘remote-controlled tilt-rotor aircraft’ (that’s a drone, in other words).

Piloted by seasoned teenage drone racer Luke Bannister, the Vodafone Xblades drone achieved a top speed average of 240.6km/h on the famous Goodwood estate, officially setting the record as confirmed by the team at Guinness World Records.

And you know what? That lightning speed is like a little glimpse into the future of mobile. See, right now we’re busily working behind the scenes on a 5G-powered future – one in which mobile data speeds are equally record-breaking, and where connections bring about amazing new possibilities for just about everyone. Drone pilots included!

“Setting a drone world record at The Goodwood Festival of Speed gives us a glimpse of what is to come with the roll-out of 5G across the country,” says Vodafone UK’s Enterprise Director, Anne Sheehan. “With super-charged data speeds, we will see technology – including drones – put to new and exciting uses.”

Get in on the action

Keen to get into drone piloting yourself? There’s never been a better time; loads of drones now offer real-time viewfinder functionality via a dedicated mobile app, which essentially turns your smartphone into your cockpit!

Here are just three of 2018’s best drones worth considering:

UDI U818a | £79.99
Best for: Beginners

The UDI U818 Plus is a great all-round drone with some top features that’ll help beginners get flying without fuss – including one-touch take off and landing, and a ‘custom flight route’ setting that’ll take the work out of piloting. Its wide-angle 2-Megapixel HD camera will shoot awesome, intelligently-levelled footage for up to 15 minutes on a charge.

Holy Stone F181W | £89.99
Best for: Stunts

As with the UDI U818a, this family-friendly drone lets you use your phone as the camera’s display, while its console-like controller makes flying a breeze – including a dedicated button for flips. It boasts a range of 100 metres and shoots footage at 720p.


DJI Inspire 2 | £3,059 – £10,399
Best for: Videography

If you want to really throw yourself into the deep end, the DJI Inspire 2 is widely regarded in the drone community as one of the best out there. Its professional-grade image processing system lets you capture up to 27 minutes of RAW footage at 4K or 5.2K resolution, at a distance of up to 7 kilometres. Serious stuff.

The science of speed… Find out how we make sure your mobile data speeds are up to scratch when you go to big festivals.

*Vodafone has partnered with XBlades Racing and Wingcopter to create the ultimate VTOL fixed wing Drone, the Wingcopter XBR, with the aim set a new Drone Speed World Record for a Remote-Controlled Tilt-Rotor Aircraft.