The Red Bull Air Race World Championship is an international series of races. The objective is for pilots, in their single-engine, piston raceplanes to navigate an aerial racetrack featuring air-filled pylons in the fastest possible time incurring as few penalties as possible.
Pilots can win World Championship points at each race and the pilot with the most points after the last race of the season becomes the Red Bull Air Race World Champion.
For 2018, 14 pilots will take part in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. Master Class pilots will have obtained their Master Class Super Licence, as issued by the Red Bull Air Race Committee.
New pilots who wish to participate in the World Championship must first fulfil the minimum criteria set by the Red Bull Air Race Committee, which include top achievements in international flying competitions organised by the FAI. They must also be active aerobatic air display pilots. Eligible pilots that prove their skills at the Red Bull Air Race Qualification Camp can achieve the Red Bull Air Race Challenger Class Super Licence. Once they have the Challenger Class Super Licence, they then qualify to take part in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the Challenger Cup.
The Red Bull Air Race consists of the following flying sessions: Free Practice, Qualifying, Round of 14, Round of 8, Final 4. In all sessions, only one pilot races in the track at a time.
FREE PRACTICE: Takes place on the days preceding Qualifying Day. The Free Practice sessions differ from Training, they give the pilots an opportunity to fly the track, but they are not restricted to flying laps. As long as they stay within the safety lines they may practice any part of the racetrack they would like in their allotted slot time.
QUALIFYING: Takes place on Qualifying Day, the day before Race Day. It includes two mandatory Qualifying sessions. Best time counts. Results of the Qualifying session determine the order of racing on Race Day.
ROUND OF 14: Takes place on Race Day. This flying session is completed in head-to-head heats; the seven winners plus the fastest loser move forward to the Round of 8. The head-to-head pairings are based on the qualifying session results.
ROUND OF 8: Seven winners from the Round of 14, plus the fastest loser, race in head-to-head heats again. The four winning pilots advance to the Final 4. The eight pilots will be reseeded for the Round of 8 and head-to-head pairings are based on the Round of 14 times. For the losing pilots, their time in the Round of 8 will determine 5th to 8th place race positions.
FINAL 4: The four heat winners from the Round of 8 compete in the Final 4 for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place race positions. The pilots fly in the same order as the for previous round. They race individually and victory is based on the quickest time recorded for the session.
STARTING ORDER FOR FLYING SESSIONS
The starting order is the order in which the pilots will race in each flying session. The starting order for Free Practice is defined by the results of the current Red Bull Air Race World Championship standing. The highest ranking pilot starts first, new pilots start at the end. If there is more than one new pilot, the starting order of these new pilots is determined by a draw.
The winner is the pilot who is ranked number one in the final flying session.
RED BULL AIR RACE WORLD CHAMPION
The Red Bull Air Race World Champion is the pilot who achieves the highest aggregate score in the given Red Bull Air Race World Championship season. The winner is crowned Red Bull Air Race World Champion at the last stop in the World Championship.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
World Championship points are awarded after each race, and will decide the Red Bull Air Race World Champion at the end of the season. The points system is as follows:
RANK (RACE) POINTS
11th – 14th: 0
More on the rules of the Red Bull Air Race
THE CHALLENGER CUP
In 2014, the Challenger Cup was conceived to help the next generation of pilots develop the skills needed for potential advancement to the Master Class.
The Challenger Cup is the second competition category in the Red Bull Air Race and is designed to build on a pilot's existing experience. The pilots will fly at the same locations as the Master Class pilots but sometimes will race a simpler track configuration. Each pilot will fly a minimum of four races throughout the eight-race season. Before the final stage of the competition, each pilot's top four scores will be added together and the top six pilots will be invited to fly in the final. The points of the final race will be added to the points collected earlier in the season and the pilot with the highest score will be the winner and crowned Challenger Cup Champion.
New for 2018 will be that the Challenger Class pilots will fly Edge 540 V2 raceplanes (instead of the Extra 330 LX). Standardised raceplanes, engine regulations and new G Force race rules will make the competition more exciting than ever before.
Each pilot will fly a minimum of four races throughout the eight-race season. Before the final stage of the competition, each pilot's top four scores will be added together and the top six pilots will be invited to fly in the final. New for 2017 will be that the final will not be a winner takes all race. The points of the final race will be added to these points and the pilot with the highest score shall be the winner and crowned the Challenger Cup Champion.
Each Challenger Class pilot is required to obtain a Challenger Class Super Licence by completing a Qualifying Camp. Competing in the Challenger Cup helps them towards acquiring their Master Class Super Licences – the licence needed to enable them to fly in the Master Class of the Red Bull Air Race.
CHALLENGER CLASS PILOTS
Up to eight Challenger Class pilots take part in each event in the race calendar. At the penultimate race of the season, each pilot's four best results are calculated and the top six pilots qualify for the final event of the season. The results of the final race of the season decide the Challenger Cup winner, and the first to sixth competition results overall.
CHALLENGER CUP POINTS
Challenger Cup points are awarded after each race, and will decide the winner of the Challenger Cup at the end of the season. The points system is as follows: