The Red Bull Air Race World Championship will be back in the skies in February 2014 with a full seven-race World Championship staged in six countries on three continents. The return of the world’s fastest motorsport series was announced at a news conference at the Putrajaya Maritime Centre in Malaysia on Tuesday 8 October.
The series will be back with defending World Champion Paul Bonhomme among the 12-pilot field after it took a three-year break to improve safety and reorganise. There will be a number of technical improvements, including standard engines and propellers for all pilots, changes to the lightweight nylon pylon material to make them even easier to burst apart if they are clipped by plane wings and raising the height of the pylons that the pilots pass through from 20 to 25 metres. The modus and rules have also been tightened, for example to prevent any pilots from exceeding the set limits.
Another safety feature and also a sporting highlight is the new Challengers Cup competition that will be introduced in 2014. It will give new pilots who qualify for that stepping-stone competition valuable experience racing in the tracks on certain Red Bull Air Race stops. They will also participate in several training camps during the season.
“We’re delighted to announce that the new Red Bull Air Race World Championship will be launched on February 28th in Abu Dhabi (UAE),” said Erich Wolf, CEO Red Bull Air Race GmbH. “We’ve all worked very hard over the last three years fine-tuning some of the safety aspects and bring the sport to a new level. We never took our eye off the target and neither have these fantastic pilots or the great fans around the world. Their interest in the sport remained unbelievably high during these past few years. We can’t wait to get back in the air in February 2014.”
Reigning champion Paul Bonhomme of Britain, who won the last two world championships in 2009 and 2010, will be looking for an unprecedented third straight title in 2014. But he will be up against 2008 champion Hannes Arch of Austria and American Kirby Chambliss, who won the world title in 2004 and 2006. The other pilots in the field include Nigel Lamb (GBR), Matt Hall (AUS), Peter Besenyei (HUN), Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA), Michael Goulian (USA), Matthias Dolderer (GER), Yoshi Muroya (JPN), Pete McLeod (CAN) and Martin Sonka (CZE).
“I’ve missed the flying at the Red Bull Air Race because the competitive racing is just fantastic,” said Peter Besenyei (HUN), one of the pilots who is with the Red Bull Air Race since its very first start. And Besenyei showed how much he missed racing during a stunning display flight on the fringe of the news conference.
- 01 March 2014 – Abu Dhabi (UAE)
- 18 May 2014 – Putrajaya (Malaysia)
- 27 July 2014 – Gdynia (Poland)
- 17 August 2014 – Ascot (UK)
- 07 September 2014 – Fort Worth, TX (USA)
- 12 October 2014 – Las Vegas, NV (USA)
- 02 November 2014 (China)