After weeks of anticipation, locations for two key stops that will round out the 2017 Red Bull Air Race calendar have been announced; and while both are in Europe, they'll test the skills of the World Championship pilots in distinctly different ways. On 2-3 September, the raceplanes will take off at the classic Air Racing destination of Porto, Portugal for the first time since 2009. Then, just two weeks later on 16-17 September, it's a return to the motorsport hub of Germany's Lausitzring.
Set against the backdrop of Porto's ancient architecture, the city's Red Bull Air Race debut in 2007 drew thousands of spectators to the sun-drenched beaches. The 2017 stop will mark the final racetrack over water this season, and the trajectory over the River Douro is likely to be twisting and tricky. While current pilots Kirby Chambliss of the USA and Matt Hall of Australia have captured podium spots in Porto (2008 and 2009, respectively), neither they nor any of the other 2017 contenders has ever clinched a win in Portugal's second-largest city.
The final locations of 2017
Following Porto, tension will be high as the teams arrive in Lausitzring. For the second season in a row, the showdown at the oval will be the last in European skies before the World Championship accelerates to its climax in the USA. In 2016, the Australian Hall edged out Germany's own Matthias Dolderer for the race. While the German went on to secure the World Championship, he's now more keen than ever to claim a home triumph as he strives to defend his title. The stop at the speedway that hosts the DTM (German Touring Car Championship) and Superbike World Championship is also a homecoming for reigning Challenger Cup winner Florian Bergér, who won there last year.
Red Bull Air Race Calendar 2017
10-11 February Abu Dhabi, UAE
15-16 April San Diego, USA
3-4 June Chiba, Japan
1-2 July Budapest, Hungary
22-23 July Kazan, Russia
2-3 September Porto, Portugal
16-17 September Lausitzring, Germany
14-15 October Indianapolis, USA