Making his Challenger Class debut in 2017, Baptiste Vignes is a World, European and French National champion in aerobatics – as well as a professional flight instructor – who sees participation in the Red Bull Air Race as a way to combine his dual passions for motorsport racing and aerobatics.
Born in Calais in 1985, Vignes first sat in a cockpit as a 14-year-old. He received his pilot's licence in 2002, securing his initial aerobatics qualification and launching into competition in 2004 before stepping up to the Advanced category in 2008. Vignes first clinched a European Advanced Team Championship in 2009 as part of the French contingent; won dual Advanced World Championships in 2010 by taking the team title and defeating 82 other pilots to claim the individual crown; and took home another gold medal from the European Advanced Team Championship in 2011. Currently a member of the French national team that competes at the Unlimited level – the highest in the sport – his best World Championship result so far in that elite category has been eighth (2015). In addition, he was awarded yet another World Championship as coach of France's Advanced team in 2016.
Vignes earned his commercial pilot's licence and also became a flight instructor in 2009, and altogether he has piloted more than 1,400 hours. Now, he's taking on an entirely new discipline, racing at high speed and low altitude through the tracks of the Red Bull Air Race.
"I relish physical challenges and the opportunity to push my physical preparation to the limit," Vignes says. "It is an honour to participate in this challenging contest – one in which I will need to constantly develop my physical and piloting skills."