The season opener of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship 2015 takes off from the UAE capital on February 13th and 14th at the Corniche Breakwater, promising more action than ever before, with an extra head-to-head knockout round added to the world’s fastest motorsport series.
With host partners Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), the competition promises fans a front-row seat for the most thrilling aerial action in the world, with a newly revamped race format taking the high-octane excitement to new heights.
The selection of Abu Dhabi as the first stop in the World Tour once again reinforces the city’s leading position in the world of motorsports and continues the success of the previous rounds it has hosted, according to TCA Abu Dhabi Events Bureau Director Faisal Al Sheikh.
“As the Red Bull Air Race takes to the skies, Abu Dhabi is once again thrilled to host the season-opener as whether it be land, sea or air, the UAE capital has a strong affiliation with motorsports and this event allows us to show our capacity to stage major events that thrill visitors and residents alike,” he said. “Just as the pilots sharply bank through the challenging gates on the course over the water, so fans can bank on our entertainment being of the same world-class standard.
“Residents and visitors alike can look forward to two exciting days of aerial action, as well as a further day of thrilling activities, such as BMX and skateboard shows and Freestyle Football, in the Race Village along the Corniche Breakwater.”
By expanding the high-speed, low-altitude competition to a field of 14 pilots from 11 countries, the race format has been revamped to heighten the competition and will now feature seven head-to-head race battles in the opening Round of 14. Then, in the Round of 8, seven winners of the Round of 14 plus the fastest loser from the first seven races will square off against each other in a second round of head-to-head, winner-take-all knock-out races. The four winners of the Round of 8 will race against the clock in the Final Four round to claim a podium place.
“This new format will be a big challenge for the pilots to fly more precisely and better than ever before and we’re confident it will make the Red Bull Air Race more exciting and competitive,” said Jim DiMatteo, Race Director of the Red Bull Air Race. “With a larger field, we were looking for ways to make the racing even more competitive and more thrilling for the fans watching at the racetrack or on television. The pilots know that just one little mistake in the Round of 14 or Round of 8 can cost them dearly.”
The eighth season of the series sees the addition of two new pilots, Francois Le Vot (FRA) and Juan Velarde (ESP), moving up from the Challenger Cup to race against the 12 returning pilots. Another new feature on race day in 2015 will be the Challenger Cup, designed in 2014 to give promising pilots the chance to gain racing experience under conditions with slightly less pressure. The Challenger Cup will now take place before the Round of 14 this year instead of on Qualifying Day.
Britain’s Nigel Lamb will be vying to defend his 2014 title with runner-up Hannes Arch of Austria and Paul Bonhomme of Britain, who was third last year, returning with high hopes for 2015. The 2015 World Championship features two new stops in Japan and Russia along with a return to Budapest, Hungary. The world’s fastest motorsport series will also be back at popular locations in 2015 with stops in Ascot (GBR), Spielberg (AUT), Fort Worth and Las Vegas (USA).
2015 Race Calendar:
1. Abu Dhabi, UAE (13/14 February)
2. Chiba, Japan (16/17 May)
3. Sochi, Russia (30 /31 May)
4. Budapest, Hungary (4/5 July)
5. Ascot, United Kingdom (15/16 August)
6. Spielberg, Austria (5/6 September)
7. Fort Worth, Texas, United States (26/27 September)
8. Las Vegas, Nevada, United States (17/18 October)
For more information, please visit www.redbullairrace.com or to download editorial content visit www.redbullairracenewsroom.com
THE RED BULL AIR RACE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Created in 2003, officially the World Championship of air racing since 2005, the Red Bull Air Race is followed by millions of fans worldwide. The fastest motorsport series in the world features 14 of the best race pilots in a pure motor-sport competition that combines speed, precision and skill. Using the fastest, most agile and lightweight racing planes, pilots navigate a low-level aerial track made up of air-filled pylons 25 meters high. New since 2014 is the Challenger Cup, a competition which enables young talented pilots to work towards acquiring entry into the Master Class of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.