AWS DeepRacer Championships 2021

How to get in? Where to watch? What can be won? All the info inside!

We’re almost there: the last monthly race will give us remaining three names from the regular season and then it’s racing time! Find all the dates and rules of racing in the championships.

AWS DeepRacer

AWS DeepRacer is a 1/18th scale autonomous race car but also much more. It is a complete program that has helped thousands of employees in numerous organizations begin their educational journey into machine learning through fun and rivalry.

Visit AWS DeepRacer page to learn more about how it can help you and your organization begin and progress the journey towards machine learning.

Join the AWS Machine Learning Community to talk to people who have used DeepRacer in their learning experience.

You might be interested in other posts from our blog

What is AWS DeepRacer Championship?

AWS have built a great educational tool in DeepRacer and then they have taken it to another level by putting it on an actual track and letting users compete with what they have learned.

AWS DeepRacer Championship is the final event of the DeepRacer season, allowing people from numerous learning and racing paths to come together and compete for fun, bragging rights and some serious rewards. It involves:

  • AWS DeepRacer League participants (24)
  • Wildcard race winners – where last minute qualifications can be won (5)
  • Enterprise events competitors – for companies partnering with AWS and using DeepRacer on the education path for their employees (5)
  • Academic League racers – for students from various academic institutions who used DeepRacer as a learning tool (just like the AWS DeepRacer Women’s League India participants) (5)
  • PoChun-NCTU-CGI – the AWS DeepRacer League 2020 winner (1)

If the circumstances permitted us to do so, we would have met for the event at the re:Invent (register for free virtual participation) conference in Las Vegas. The wildcard race would take place in person, we would use actual cars and would have loads of fun together. AWS Machine Learning Community is curiosity-driven and meeting in one place to enjoy each other’s company is enough of a reward to keep competing in the league (at least for me). I hope we will get to enjoy this next year.

Vivalas Speedway

All the races will be happening on the same track this year. Say hello to Vivalas Speedway:

Vivalas Speedway (Source: AWS DeepRacer Console)

Inspired by a historic Las Vegas track of yesteryear, the Vivalas Speedway is the second longest, and most difficult track to be released in 2021. 5 consecutive opposing hairpins are framed in by the Vivalas Loop perimeter; a modified oval full of high speed straightaways primed for passing and all out speed. Which racers will go all in and gamble it all for the jackpot?

From AWS DeepRacer Console

The track is 73.785 m long and 131 cm wide – wider than most tracks so far, and there’s a reason for it.

Who are the finalists?

There will be 40 finalists. That’s right, 16 more will join the 24 winners from the league. Here is a full list of finalists:

  • 1 2020 League Champion – PoChun-NCTU-CGI (I suspect he’ll be changing his name to PoChun-NYCU-CGI)
  • 24 AWS DeepRacer League racers – we already know 21, three more will be known in a week and a bit
  • 5 re:Invent Wildcard Race Winners – this race is happening right now and you can join the fight for those five spots
  • 10 Community Wildcard Race Winners – these places are usually for racers from various organisations cooperating with AWS which have their internal competitions to qualify. AWS are offering internal leagues for companies who wish to use DeepRacer as their ML immersion tool. The most known racer from this path is DBro who took part in the 2019 finals on behalf of LibertyMutual and stayed in the Community since.

Can I still qualify?

Yes! The Wildcard Race is available to all in the AWS DeepRacer Console, it’s a Time Trial format which will end on the 14th of November at 23:59 UTC

  • Track: Vivalas Speedway
  • Format: Time Trial Leaderboard
  • Racers entering: ALL OF THEM
  • Racers progressing: 5
  • Ranking method: Total time
  • Race style: Continuous Laps
  • Number of laps: 3
  • Resets allowed: Unlimited
  • Off-track penalty: 3 seconds

Championship Racing

Assuming it’s the 15th of November and we know all 40 finalists, there will be three rounds ahead of us.

Round 1: Group Knockout Round [LIVE]

We will start with four races in groups of ten. Racers will be assigned to groups with possibly most friendly racing time. As a person that watched six out of seven finale races in the middle of the night I value this approach. Races will be streamed live on AWS’ Twitch account over four days, broadcast details below.

  • Track: Vivalas Speedway
  • Format: Virtual live race: Object Avoidance
  • Racers entering: 40
  • Racers progressing: 16
  • Groups: 4 x 10 racers
  • Ranking method: Fastest single lap
  • Race style: 2 rounds of 3 minutes, continuous racing
  • Resets allowed: Unlimited
  • Off-track penalty: 3 seconds
  • Collision penalty: 3 seconds

Top four from each group advance to the second round.

Where and when to watch Round 1?

PSTWed 17 Nov 2021 7:00 am PSTWed 17 Nov 2021 4:00 pm PSTWed 17 Nov 2021 6:30 pm PSTFri 19 Nov 2021 7:00 am PST
UTCWed 17 Nov 2021 15:00 UTCThu 18 Nov 2021 00:00 UTCThu 18 Nov 2021 02:30 UTCFri 19 Nov 2021 15:00 am UTC
AESTThu 18 Nov 2021 1:00 am AESTThu 18 Nov 2021 10:00 am AESTThu 18 Nov 2021 12:30 pm AESTSat 20 Nov 2021 1:00 am AEST
AWS DeepRacer Championship 2021 Round 1 race times

Round 2: Bracket of 16 [LIVE]

AWS have released new feature for DeepRacer: Virtual live head to head races. This is a great improvement of the knock-outs format compared to last year where we were only able to see the videos of races that have already happened. Now, as they are happening live racers can influence the maximum speed of the car and viewers can watch it live.

  • Track: Vivalas Speedway
  • Format: Virtual live race: Head-toHead double elimination bracket tournament
  • Racers entering: 16
  • Racers progressing: 3
  • Ranking method: Total time
  • Race style: Continuous laps, racing in pairs
  • Number of laps: 3
  • Resets allowed: Unlimited
  • Off-track penalty: 2 seconds
  • Collision penalty: 2 seconds

Racers will take part in a live double elimination event where there are two brackets: undefeated bracket and last chance brackets.

AWS DeepRacer Championship Round 2 elimination bracket (Source: AWS)

All racers start in the undefeated bracket where they take part in eight races in pairs. Winners progress to next races in undefeated bracket and losers move on to the last chance bracket.

In undefeated bracket two racers are determined who will progress into the final. Winners of match 21 and 22 will have one more race to determine the undefeated racer for the finals. While both racers still qualify, this is to determine the racing order.

In the last chance bracket racers compete to determine the the third finalist.

Depending on their results racers in round two will take part in between two and six races.

Where and when to watch Round 2?

PSTMon 22 Nov 2021 5:30 pm PST
UTCTue 23 Nov 2021 01:30 UTC
AESTTue 23 Nov 2021 11:30 pm AEST
AWS DeepRacer Championship 2021 Round 2 race time

Round 3: Grand Prix Final [LIVE(ish)]

The finale could be called The Unfinished Business™ – it is a continuation of the double elimination bracket tournament from round 2. The difference is that it will be presented during the AWS re:Invent Live AIML and Data Analytics Keynote.

Have you registered for your free AWS re:Invent virtual participation yet? If not, head over to

There will be two remaining races to determine the AWS DeepRacer League 2021 Champion. First, the last chance race to determine the one to challenge the undefeated racer and then the final race for the ultimate glory, bragging rights and $10,000 (more on prizes later).

  • Track: Vivalas Speedway
  • Format: Virtual live race: Head-toHead double elimination bracket tournament
  • Racers entering: 3
  • Racers winning: 1
  • Ranking method: Total time
  • Race style: Continuous laps, racing in pairs
  • Number of laps: 3
  • Resets allowed: Unlimited
  • Off-track penalty: 2 seconds
  • Collision penalty: 2 seconds

I expect this to take place either right before the Keynote so I recommend joining a little early so that you don’t miss it. The way this works usually is that the race is pre-recorded and presented during the keynote. The results will not be released before that point so it will still be as exciting and fresh as in live-live stream.

Where and when to watch the AWS DeepRacer League Championship Finale?

PSTWed 1 Dec 2021 8:30 am PST
UTCWed 1 Dec 2021 16:30 UTC
AESTThu 2 Dev 2021 2:30 am AEST
AWS DeepRacer Championship 2021 Finale race time


The grand prize: The winner receives the bragging rights to the AWS DeepRacer League 2021 Championship Cup, a track and a number of other elements named after him in League 2022 and a prize of $10,000 USD.

The second prize: The second place finisher receives $5,000 USD.

The third prize: The third place finisher receives $2,000 USD.

The fourth prize: The unsuccessful competitors from matches 21, 22 and 27 (places 4-6) receive $1,000 USD.

Get racing!

If you haven’t qualified yet, join the wildcard race to compete for the finals. If you have, good luck!

Regardless, make sure you meet us in the AWS Machine Learning Community Slack.

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