The Red Bull Air Race in Abu Dhabi
The Red Bull Air Race is an exciting competition in which the world’s most talented pilots are up against each other in a race based on speed, precision and skill.
The competition features a dynamic discipline of flying, called ‘air racing’ where the objective is to navigate a challenging race course in the sky, in the fastest possible time.
Flying individually against the clock, the pilots have to execute tight turns through a slalom course consisting of specially designed pylons, known as ‘Air Gates’.
They compete in knockout rounds with the two fastest pilots going head to head in the final.
The Air Race is not just about speed - precision is crucial to success because any mistakes incur penalty points which are then added to the pilot’s time. Flying low to the ground at speeds that can reach 400kph, while attempting difficult turning manoeuvres, requires immense skill that only a certain number of pilots in the world possess. That is why the pilots are hand selected based upon their expertise and experience.
What makes the Air Race so exciting and interesting for spectators is the proximity of the contest to the crowds. Low level flying on a relatively compact course means that people can really experience all the action close-up.
The idea of the Air Race was conceived in the Red Bull sports think tank. The very first Red Bull Air Race took place at AirPower in Zeltweg, Austria in 2003 and was hailed a great success. It was clear that there was a huge potential for the competition. Subsequent Air Races were then held in Hungary, England and the USA and since then it has evolved into its current format, the Red Bull Air Race World Series.
The first World Series kicked off in 2005, taking place in seven venues across the world (the race at Abu Dhabi is shown here), with ten internationally acclaimed pilots competing.
‘Air races’ have their roots in the US but unlike those contests where the objective was purely about speed, the Red Bull Air Race brings another dimension into the challenge – skill. The pilots are using some of the lightest, agile and most responsive planes that exist, but ultimately it’s the pilot’s stamina and skill that determines who will be crowned the next Red Bull Air Race World Series champion.
For more information about the Red Bull Air Races, click here
Many thanks to Ray McClure for this target.