This is the track where the 2017 World Champion will be crowned. There is a lot of pressure on a lot of pilots. Here's what they thought of their first day flying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway...
"It's the first race with a standing start so this is totally different. The track is interesting and with strong winds there will be some areas that will be quite challenging, especially the VTM and the gate before. We're trying not to think about the World Championship we're just concentrating on the race, because there are still a lot of points on the table and anything can happen."
"We made a mistake with the engine setting and it's running really slowly. That made all the feeling in the raceplane different, but we know now and we'll be ready for the next session."
"It's a first time in the track and with the static start the track comes round quick. It's going to be an interesting game to make sure your body and mind is ready for the track, because there's no time to warm up before you're in the track. There's no pressure on me, I'm coming from behind so for me it's about having a good race. It might be nice to have Martin or Yoshi in an early round and try to knock them out – that will be my best chance to win."
"I'm super motivated and I've got some things to figure out. Part of the problem is that I didn't have the time to get the engine temperature up. It's only training, but we're trying to set ourselves up for the race. We're trying to get as much speed as we can into the first gate and then get as tight to the chicane as you can. We want to win."
"It's as per the last few races, I'm back to enjoying my flying. I know the plane and can put it where I want. I'm enjoying the track and it was a clean day with no penalties. It all worked out and we're putting down some pretty quick times. There's going to be some wind changes and we'll have to see what it does for our takeoffs and it's going to completely change the track. It's going to be hard. It's no stress for me; I'm just going racing. But there's four guys ahead of me that are going to be absolutely petrified of a wind change because if they take a pylon out in the first round they're going to lose the World Championship."
"We haven't flown for a while and the static start makes it really difficult because the raceplanes aren't really flying how you're used to, it's kind of slow – it's a different feeling. But on the other side, you go through two gates and then you have the speed you need for the rest of the track and it goes according to our plan. There's a lot to improve, but we've done everything we've planned."
"It's a very demanding track so I was a little bit behind the raceplane so I collected a few penalties and I struggled to find the right line. But I felt I caught up and think that the next training will be better."
"It's good to be in the front. The track is only a little bit different, the first part is the same before the pull up. It's the first time we've had gates close together which is quite a challenge. It's good to be back in the States and back in Indianapolis. I won the World Championship last year so there are a lot of happy memories."
"Being in your home country knowing your family is watching then it's a beautiful day, you don't have any more motivation to do well with all those things aligned. It's an interesting track, it looks a little bit easy, but it's definitely not easy and there are a lot of places that you have to do well and they're hard to do."
"Glad to be back in Indianapolis, it's a lovely track. I flew last year as the Mentoring pilot and today I flew as a full member of the Master Class – there was a lot of difference. I looked at a lot of details on the first run, which wasn't probably the best solution because I was too busy. I then decided to reset and go again and I flew much better."
"We were unable to test our aircraft how we would've liked because of the weather, so we were busy before we went into the track and I was not well prepared. I flew it like an early training run. I hope tomorrow I will be much more of the pilot in the track, and not a passenger."
"The track is much more unpredictable compared to last year. With the wind from the south it's quite difficult to get the final gate, but otherwise we have to work on it and see where we can improve."
François Le Vot
"It's a funny track, the gates are very close and it can be very challenging. We realised that we have to line up before the gate, but it's a nice track. I'm flying consistent and my tactician is happy with my flying."
"As I always say, the Red Bull Air Race takes us to some amazing places and what better venue for the finale? There's so much heritage related to motorsport here, it's going to be amazing. And it's going to be a great final. For my team and me we're excited to be back here and it's a very special place for us. I felt comfortable in the track, it's different from last year. On paper they look like small changes, but when you're flying it's completely different."
The pilots are back in action tomorrow for Free Practice 3 and then Qualifying. Don't miss a moment HERE.