The 2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship will include an extra head-to-head knock out round. Organizers have also expanded the competition to include 14 pilots from 11 countries.
The race format has been revamped to feature seven head-to-head race battles in the opening Round of 14. Then in the Round of 8, seven winners of the Round of 14, plus the fastest loser from the first seven races, will square off against each other in a second round of head-to-head, winner-take-all knock-out races.
The four winners of the Round of 8 will race against the clock in the Final Four round to claim a podium place.
“This new format will be a big challenge for the pilots to fly more precisely and better than ever before and we’re confident it will make the Red Bull Air Race more exciting and competitive,” said Jim DiMatteo, Race Director of the Red Bull Air Race. “With a larger field, we were looking for ways to make the racing even more competitive and more thrilling for the fans watching at the racetrack or on television. The pilots know that just one little mistake in the Round of 14 or Round of 8 can cost them dearly.”
This year’s championship, which kicks off with the season opener in Abu Dhabi Feb, 13-14, has added two new pilots: Francois Le Vot from France and Juan Velarde of Spain, moving up from the Challenger Cup to race against the 12 returning pilots.
Another new feature on race day in 2015 will be the Challenger Cup, designed in 2014 to give promising pilots the chance to gain racing experience under conditions with slightly less pressure. The Challenger Cup will now take place before the Round of 14 this year instead of on Qualifying Day.
Britain’s Nigel Lamb will be vying to defend his 2014 title with runner-up Hannes Arch of Austria and Paul Bonhomme of Britain, who was third last year.
The 2015 World Championship features two new stops in Japan and Russia, along with a return to Budapest, Hungary.
2015 Race Calendar:
- Abu Dhabi, UAE (Feb. 13-14)
- Chiba, Japan (May 16-17)
- Sochi, Russia (May 30-31)
- Budapest, Hungary (July 4-5)
- Ascot, United Kingdom (Aug. 15-16)
- Spielberg, Austria (Sept. 5-6)
- Fort Worth, Texas (Sept. 26-27)
- Las Vegas, Nevada, (Oct. 17-18)