2018 will see François Le Vot entering his fourth season of Master Class competition. He is a decorated former French Air Force fighter pilot who has claimed aerobatics titles on the world, European and national levels. The French ace will go down in Red Bull Air Race history as the victor of the first three races of the inaugural Challenger Class season (2014), and with one Master Class podium already to his credit, he's on the hunt for more.
Le Vot, who makes his home in the south of France, retired as a top gun flight instructor from France's "Armée de l'Air" after a distinguished 24-year career flying Alpha Jets and the Mirage 2000 and serving on the military aerobatics team. He joined the French national aerobatics team in 2004 and earned, to name just a few of his many honours, the individual Unlimited World Aerobatic Championship (2013), the team World Aerobatic Championship (2009, 2013), the team European Aerobatics Championship (2012) and the individual French National Aerobatics Championship (2011, 2013, 2014), as well as numerous other world, European and national podiums across team and individual competition. Altogether "Zool," as he's known in the aviation world, has well over 4,300 flight hours to his name, including 1,500 hours in military jet aircraft and more than 1,200 hours in aerobatics. He is also an aerobatics coach.
In Le Vot's first season as a Master Class competitor, 2015, he wrestled with trying to optimise an unfamiliar aircraft as well as the demands of managing a team for the first time, all while striving to maintain the focus necessary to race against the best in the world. But applying what he learned, the pilot confidently blazed into 2016 by taking his first Master Class podium: third place at the season opener in Abu Dhabi. 2017 saw him collect a new Edge 540 V3 and although he struggled to make advances, he was getting quicker and quciker in the track. Before the 2017 had even ended Le Vot said: "There is no offseason, the preparation for 2018 has already begun." He'll be on the warpath to success this year.