Fresh on the heels of the Flugtag, Red Bull is bringing planes to North Texas that can actually fly.
After a three-year break to improve safety and reorganize, The Red Bull Air Race World Championship will return to the United States in 2014 with two stops; one at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and the second at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
In the air races, 12 competitors in high-performance airplanes fly between 50 and 80 feet above the ground while navigating a challenging obstacle course of air gate pylons at up to 230 mph.
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In the past, U.S. air races had been held over undeveloped land or bodies of water. Now, they'll take place over speedways.
“We like doing things no one expects. I think the thing that will be so appealing to motorsports fans and gearheads is that this is a real competition,” said Eddie Gossage, President, Texas Motor Speedway. “Red Bull Air Race is truly a head-to-head, nose-to-nose competition on the clock, where these pilots are running through the Air Gates to see who can turn in the best time.”
Among the changes to improve safety are standard engines and propellers for all pilots, changes to the lightweight nylon pylon material to make it easier for them to burst apart if they are clipped by plane wings and raising the height of the pylons that the pilots pass through to 82 feet.
A 270-degree "Quatro" turn through a set of four pylons has been eliminated due to the exceedingly high G-forces it exerts on the planes and pilots.
“The Red Bull Air Race is one of the most exciting sports the world has ever seen. We’ve all worked very hard over the last three years fine-tuning some of the safety aspects and bringing the sport to a new level. We never took our eye off the target and neither have these fantastic pilots or the great fans around the world. We can’t wait to get back up in the air in February 2014," said Erich Wolf, CEO Red Bull Air Race GmbH, at a news conference in Malaysia Tuesday morning.
The Texas race will take place Sept. 6-7 with the Las Vegas race taking place Oct. 11-12. Two of the 12 pilots competing in the 2014 season are from the U.S., with one, Kirby Chambliss, being a Texas native.
“I’m excited that there will be two races in the U.S., and I’m a native Texan – from Corpus Christi – so it’s going to be cool racing in my home state, for sure,” said Chambliss. “We’ll be racing in the motor speedways in the two stops in the United States – Texas and Las Vegas. We did that previously in Germany, and it’s a really cool perspective from a spectator standpoint, because you’re actually looking down on the airplanes as they race through the gates.”
See the complete race calendar below:
The 2014 Race Calendar
1. Abu Dhabi, UAE Feb. 28 – March 1
2. Kuala Lumpur/Putrajaya, MAS May 17 - 18
3. Gdynia, POL July 26 - 27
4. Ascot, GBR August 16 -17
5. Dallas/Fort Worth, USA September 6 - 7
6. Las Vegas, USA October 11 - 12
7. Kunshan, CHN - November 1 - 2