Lycoming Thunderbolt engines to power Red Bull Air Race 2014

Lycoming Engines has been selected to power the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, which is set to return in February 2014.

Each Red Bull Air Race airplane will be powered by a Lycoming Thunderbolt engine, standardized to Red Bull Air Race’s specifications for all 12 pilots participating in the races.

Thunderbolt Engines are Lycoming’s brand of high performance, built-to-order powerplants for experimental aircraft.

The creation of a Thunderbolt engine involves the pilot as part of the design team, according to Lycoming officials.

With Thunderbolt engines, customers get a genuine Lycoming factory engineered, factory built, factory tested and factory supported engine — with a choice of fuel systems, ignition systems, performance enhancements and finishing options.

“We’ve worked closely with Red Bull Air Race to set the engine specifications and build the team’s Thunderbolt engines,” said Jeffrey Schans, Thunderbolt product manager at Lycoming Engines.

Red Bull selected Lycoming’s Thunderbolt AEIO-540-EXP, which was specifically chosen to fit Red Bull Air Race’s racing profile, providing both safety and high performance, he noted.

“These engines are powerful and impressive, and meet the requirements of this unique customer,” Schans said.

According to Sergio Pla, Red Bull Air Race’s Head of Aviation and Sport, “We chose Lycoming for their well proven product, service, and consistency.”

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  1. Greg W says

    Too bad that Red Bull as a European Co. did not specify that Hjelmco Oil unleaded AVGAS 91/96 UL was to be used. That would make sense for international competitions as 100LL is not readily available around the globe. Racing has always been a good way to showcase new technologies and this would have been great to show what a slightly lower rated Unleaded fuel could do. It would solve the problems in the U.S. as we cannot do anything ourselves now and just as the airspace names had to align with ICAO so will our fuel eventually. This should not be the case but as “our” government keeps telling us “it’s a global economy”.

    • David Gaeddert says

      Swift Fuels 100SF anyone? Go to, look up US 8,556,999 B2 to read what they are peddling, how they propose making it. Some hi-performance engines really need that full 100 octane, achievable, without ethanol, only with tetraethyl lead.

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