In an attempt to retain his title in 2015 Nigel Lamb and his Breitling Racing Team made several changes to his raceplane to try to stay ahead of the curve. Ultimately, Lamb was unable to keep pace in the standings, but a late-season insight saw the Brit reverse his fortunes and return to his ultra-competitive form.
So what is the former World Champion going to do to take back his title in 2016?
Find the right ingredients
Nigel Lamb: To win the Red Bull Air Race, you need an excellent team, a competitive aircraft, the right preparation and mindset. You also need a degree of luck – such as the weather not working against you too often over race weekend.
Improve and innovate
NL: You cannot win a championship and then do nothing. To stand still is to go backwards in a highly competitive environment where everyone is making constant improvements to get faster in the track. It took us three years (2007-2009) to get competitive in the MXS-R and that was through never-ending innovation. We carried this philosophy forward from our tremendous success in 2014, primarily by trying to improve the MXS-R's pitching performance with a new, smaller elevator for 2015.
Make time, be consistent
NL: In hindsight, the lack of set-up time before the first race and my insistence on trying to get it right in the first half of the season is what destroyed my consistency and my battle to retain the Championship title. I think we resolved this in the final two races of the season when I finally figured that it was worth going back to the original 2014 elevator set up. The result was clear, with some very competitive lap times in Fort Worth and Las Vegas.
Learn, move on, move up
NL: Without doubt, the pace picked up during 2015 with many other teams re-equipping with faster machines and building stronger teams... so the pressure is on for 2016! We do have several improvements planned but now is not the time to reveal the details! Suffice to say that we learned a lot during a frustrating 2015 season and feel confident that we'll be better prepared for the first race of 2016.