The Abu Dhabi Corniche Breakwater will be busier than usual this weekend as the world’s best racing pilots renew their rivalry in the opening leg of the Red Bull Air Race Championship.
Thirteen of the world’s best will begin their road to glory, travelling up to maximum speeds of 370kph with forces up to 10G on Friday and Saturday.
The previous 10 editions in the UAE capital have been a huge success and this weekend’s is set to be no different especially with the new pilots, raceplane innovations and updated rules only adding fuel to the fire.
In the Master category, defending champion Yoshihide Muroya will be the man to beat after the Japanese sealed his maiden title last year.
Standing in his way of retaining his crown is runner-up Martin Sonka, winner of the Abu Dhabi race in 2017.
Canada’s Pete McLeod, who finished a career-high third in 2017, and two-time runner-up Australia’s Matt Hall will be hoping to continue their strong form from the second half of the season.
Meanwhile, former world champions Kirby Chambliss and Matthias Dolderer will be eager for fresh dominance.
Joining the elite pilots is a new face – Ben Murphy. The Brit joins the field with two years of racing experience in the Challenger Class and is relishing the challenge.
“It’s a huge honour to be moving up to the Master Class in 2018. It will be great to have the British colors flying again and to follow in the footsteps of fellow British pilots Paul Bonhomme and Nigel Lamb,” said Murphy. “Both have been an inspiration to me, and this move marks the next major step in the campaign to battle to the top and match their World Championship successes. Those are big shoes to fill, though.”
In the Challenger Class, Italy’s Dario Costa and South Africa’s Patrick Davidson join the lineup with all 10 competitors flying the new raceplane, the Edge 540 V2.
As well as the action in the skies over the two days, there will be plenty of entertainment on the ground with Red Bull’s Activation Zone.
Red Bull Car Park Drift and Neymar Junior’s 5 qualifiers are just some of the things spectators can look forward to and Eric Wolf, general manager of the Red Bull Air Race insists the Abu Dhabi race is definitely one not to miss.
“I’ve never looked forward to a kickoff with so much anticipation. The 2017 season had us on the edge of our seats, and because it was so close, every team sees a chance for glory and is going for it,” he said.
“I think we’ll be treated to phenomenal advances in technology and skill, and there’s nowhere that appreciates progression more than Abu Dhabi, with its strong motorsport heritage. It’s the perfect place to begin our second decade of World Championship action.”
What: Red Bull Air Race, Abu Dhabi
Where: Abu Dhabi Corniche Breakwater
When: Friday and Saturday
Contact: For tickets and more information, visit www.redbullairrace.com