With days to go before Race Week begins at the Red Bull Air Race season opener in Abu Dhabi, Martin Sonka has announced a new partnership with Red Bull for the 2016 season. That backing, plus a new raceplane, could boost Team Sonka's momentum into hyperdrive.
After a breakthrough 2015 season where he finished in a strong fourth place, Sonka is ready to push for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship this season, and he's got a new team – Red Bull – supporting the effort. When Sonka takes to the skies in Abu Dhabi on 11-12 March, his raceplane will be sporting the iconic Red Bull colours. And underneath that fresh paint will be a new aircraft with a dream package of modifications.
"It's a generally well-known fact that only top athletes and teams worldwide have the privilege of Red Bull partnership, so it's really a big honour and a desired reward for our hard work in past years," said Sonka. "It's also a big commitment as our ambitions and targets are only the highest possible now."
Right from the end of last season, a new raceplane was one of Sonka's strategies for hitting those targets. Team Sonka acquired the stunning new Edge 540 V3 of Red Bull Air Race pioneer Peter Besenyei, who had flown it in only five races before announcing his retirement in October. Team Besenyei had already customised the stunning raceplane with a list of innovative modifications, and Team Sonka has been busy refining it even further, so far focusing on reducing its weight and making adjustments to the cooling system, with much data collection and analysis still to come.
"We're really looking forward to Abu Dhabi – all the teams did their best during winter break to be stronger and faster, so it will be a real challenge and I think fans can expect an exciting season," said Sonka. "It's going to be a completely new chapter of air racing for me and for my team, and we believe it will be a successful one."