Canada's Pete McLeod (2nd from right) will be looking ro his second Red Bull Air Race Series win in 2017. (Photo-Daniel Grund/Red Bull Content Pool)
By: Red Bull Air Race Series
February 7 2017
The 2017 Red Bull Air Race calendar gets underway over the Arabian Gulf on February 10-11 with the diamond 75th race for World Championship points. While the atmosphere will be celebratory, 14 of the planet’s best pilots will have their game face on, determined to start strong in a season where the results will be anything but predictable.
Abu Dhabi (UAE) – Abu Dhabi will host the season opener of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship for the tenth time in a row on February 10-11, with all the signature glamour and excitement that the heritage stop represents. At speeds of 370kph with forces up to 10G, a field of 14 pilots will begin their eight-race campaign for the 2017 title in the desert skies, fresh with the improved raceplane technology and heightened physical fitness they’ve gained in the off-season. Whether they’ve arrived from wintry Canada, summery Australia, or global locations in-between, the race teams from five continents know that in Abu Dhabi, the heat is on.
Adding to the anticipation: The stop in the Emirates also marks the diamond 75th World Championship race, a landmark for this relatively new discipline among top-level motorsports. Matthias Dolderer of Germany will look to continue where he left off when he claimed the 2016 title with dominant consistency. But across nine seasons so far, only one pilot (Great Britain’s Paul Bonhomme, who is now a Red Bull Air Race commentator) has ever managed to capture two crowns consecutively. Dolderer’s 13 powerful opponents will be aiming to derail his charge and build early-season momentum of their own.
Among the unpredictable factors in what promises to be a gripping season are two new Master Class pilots – Cristian Bolton of Chile and Mika Brageot of France – who together combine for more applicable experience than any previous newcomers thanks to training in the Challenger Cup and the Master Mentoring Program. Meanwhile, the Challenger Class, with three new members in 2017 including the first Red Bull Air Race pilot from China, will also be in action.
“The teams have been arriving with exceptional focus and determination, and the pilots are eager to add their names to the 10-year legacy here by winning this 75th World Championship race,” commented Erich Wolf, General Manager of Red Bull Air Race GmbH. “Abu Dhabi is closely associated with the best in motorsport, so you can be sure that the racing will set a high standard for the season.”
See it live: Tickets for the 2017 season opener in Abu Dhabi are on sale now. For all the latest news and information, visit www.redbullairrace.com
Red Bull Air Race 2017 Calendar:
February 10-11: Abu Dhabi, UAE
April 15-16: San Diego, USA
June 3-4: Chiba, Japan
July 1-2: Budapest, Hungary
July 22-23: Kazan, Russia
August 12-13: TBA, Europe
September 2-3: TBA, Europe
October 14-15: Indianapolis, USA
About Red Bull Air Race:
Created in 2003, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship will celebrate its landmark 75th race at the 2017 season opener in Abu Dhabi. The Red Bull Air Race World Championship features the world’s best race pilots in a pure motorsport competition that combines speed, precision and skill. Using the fastest, most agile, lightweight racing planes, pilots hit speeds of 370kmh while enduring forces of up to 10G as they navigate a low-level slalom track marked by 25-meter-high, air-filled pylons. In 2014, the Challenger Cup was conceived to help the next generation of pilots develop the skills needed for potential advancement to the Master Class that vies for the World Championship.