It has been referred to as the NASCAR of the sky, the fastest sport we’ve never heard of and involves the world’s most skilled aerobatic pilots competing against the clock for the title of Red Bull Air Race Champion.
In Red Bull’s version of air racing, planes compete one-by-one on an air track, pulling aggressive loops as they pass through 25 metre inflatable pylons, or ‘gates’ as they are commonly called by competitors. G-force is immense for all competitors, with some pilots “pulling 10Gs” during a race, equivalent to ten times the force of gravity. It’s said that the flier’s body feels like it is being pulled out the bottom of the cockpit during such moments.
The pilot who can complete the course in the least amount of time, wins. That is provided no rules are broken. Planes are disqualified for being under-weight (safety precaution), as are uncontrolled flights or ones where the plane flies out of race boundary lines. The flight dynamics are tightly controlled too. There is a maximum entry speed to the first gate, and fliers must pass through the top 40 per cent of the pylons without exceeding them. Seconds are docked for both offences.
For spectators, the viewing pay-off is all-time, as planes swoop fast and low, and each location on the eight part tour offers up its own vista and landscapes to the racing scene. 2015 marked the return of this championship to the sporting fraternity, after taking a hiatus to reconsider the safety precautions for all involved.
Given the vast array of billed locations, a Red Bull Air Race can become a convenient high point in the thrill seeking spectator’s travel itinerary.
WORDS OF WISDOM
PRE-EVENT WATCH: The Master Class — what does it take to be the best? and Rule Recap of the Red Bull Air Race
For all dates of the Red Bull World Air Race Championships visit Red Bull World Air Race Championships
Sign up for our email newsletter.