With glittering skyscrapers reflecting the Arabian Gulf, Abu Dhabi is home to one of the most dramatic skylines in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship – and the 2018 season promises thrilling action to match. Thirteen of the world’s best pilots will resume their rivalries at 370kph with forces up to 10G, joined by a new opponent boasting impeccable credentials. With a first-time World Champion leading the rankings, many teams have radically revised their raceplanes, and the opener in the Emirates will set the stage for a season of suspense.
Pilots from six continents have been impatiently awaiting the kickoff to the eight-race calendar. This season also marks the return of powerhouse Great Britain to the World Championship, as Ben Murphy makes his Master Class debut with the Blades Racing Team. A former leader of the Royal Air Force aerobatic team “The Red Arrows”, Murphy brings two years’ experience in the feeder Challenger Class.
Red Bull Air Race 2018 Calendar:
2-3 February: Abu Dhabi, UAE
21-22 April: Cannes, France
26-27 May: Europe, location TBA
23-24 June: Budapest, Hungary
4-5 August: Asia, location TBA
25-26 August: Kazan, Russia
6-7 October: Indianapolis, USA
November: Asia, location TBA
Amping the excitement across the race classes is a rule change that changes the penalty for exceeding the G-force limit – enabling pilots to race on (albeit with a time penalty) rather than earning a “did not finish” result if their infraction is within defined safety limits.
“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,” said Erich Wolf, General Manager of Red Bull Air Race GmbH. “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.”