Motoring legend James May experiences the Air Race

British pilot, motorcyclist and car expert soaks up the Air Race in Texas

James May tests the Air Race

Motoring TV star and DriveTribe founder James May was given the flight of his life in Texas when he took part in a Red Bull Air Race G-Flight Experience.

The presenter, affectionately known as 'Captain Slow' went a little bit faster in the sky than on the ground when he was shown what the race pilots go through in the track.

ar_tx_jmay_sv_3914resize.jpg
Dario Costa and James May talk G-Flight Experience tactics ©Samo Vidic/RBAR

"It was remarkable because to begin with I thought it was a comfortable flight," said May after flying with Challenger Class pilot Dario Costa. "But then the pylons became a bit alarming because you think the plane isn't going to fit – and I'm sure someone moved them closer in the night for a laugh!"

resize.jpg
May loved his experience ©Samo Vidic/RBAR

May, who is a pilot himself, and currently owns an American Champion Scout genuinely appreciates the skills needed to compete in the Air Race. "As a pilot it's not natural to fly towards things, you'd avoid it at all costs," he exclaimed. "But the thing that really got me was the slalom manoeuvre. That was just so brutal and I was just there making silly little noises. But if you had to fly that and concentrate on your lines to try and shave off 0.01s I think that's pretty impressive – you have to be made of proper stuff to do that."

ar_tx_jmay_pv_8802resize.jpg
May and Paul Bonhomme talk all things Air Race ©Predrag Vuckovic/RBAR

As a fan of most motorsports and anything with an engine, May can see that the Red Bull Air Race is at the forefront of racing and is enamoured by its uniqueness. "The thing I find interesting about it is that you have practice, Qualifying and then the race and each session can be a completely different track," May said. "The Fort Worth race had one track in Qualifying and in the race it's as if someone had changed the track over night,"

ar_tx_jmay_pv_8909resize.jpg
May also spoke to fellow Brit Ben Murphy in Fort Worth ©Predrag Vuckovic/RBAR

Thinking about the track May is once again impressed with the talent of the pilots. "Unless you actually understand aeroplanes or fly yourself you don't realise what the pilots go through. They have to manage ground speed plus indicated airspeed, whilst thinking about wind direction and thinking about turbulence, and thinking about expanding their lines to improve their flight. It's pretty high tech," explained May.

And when asked if he thought he could take part, May joked: "I would be racing, but my pilot's licence has lapsed."