Shipping Red Bull Air Race across the world with DHL

Reaching speeds of up to 370kph and enduring forces up to 10G, the Red Bull Air Race is one of the most exhilarating motorsports on the planet and draws fans from every continent. But none of it would be possible without the operational teams who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure every race runs smoothly.

At the top of the list is DHL, who are responsible for making sure that the race infrastructure – that's everything from the hangars to the pylons to the raceplanes themselves – is transported across the world and delivered ready for a weekend of high-speed, low-altitude action. DHL works closely with every aspect of Red Bull Air Race, including Production and Aviation, as well as the pilots and broadcasters, to create a unified team operation that works like a well-oiled machine.

We spoke to DHL about just what it takes to transport a World Championship...

"All of the Red Bull Air Race equipment and infrastructure is transported around the globe using our complete portfolio of transportation modes," explains DHL's Richard Perry. "This means a combination of seafreight, roadfreight, airfreight, and rail transportation, depending on the schedule, location and budget guidelines."

The type of transport operation required depends heavily on whether the racetrack is set up over land, such as Ascot, or water, such as Chiba. "Generally speaking, up to 20 seafreight containers and two 747 aircraft are required for the international back-to-back events." In Europe, DHL could have anything up to 40 trucks fulfilling transports needs from location to location.

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It's no surprise that with such a colossal undertaking, there are certain challenges to overcome, especially with city locations. "The challenge will always be working in inner city locations as this involves close cooperation with the general public and mutual understanding, to cause minimal disruption to day-to-day life," Richard says. "Budapest is a prime example of this. The infrastructure there needed to be positioned on the banks of the Danube in a residential area, which inevitably has its complications."

One of the biggest and most logistically challenging periods of last season was the transport of equipment from Europe to the US. This is usually done over a four-day period, but can vary depending on the locations and calendar schedule. "Another extreme example taken from the 2015 season was where everything was transported from Chiba to Rovinj in just three days," Richard comments.

An additional factor that can have an impact on the transport logistics is, unsurprisingly, the weather. In May, a typhoon in Japan presented a major challenge ahead of the Chiba race weekend, with everything needing to be moved offsite to a secure location at short notice.

DHL not only supplies transport and logistics services in between races, but is also operational during the race weekend. "On location our staff are fully integrated and will assist all departments where needed," Richard explains. "This could be anything from helping a department to finish packing up their equipment, to assisting the Aviation Department or a team with dismantling and safely packaging their aircraft for shipment."

When it comes to the operational aspects of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, one thing is for sure: it's a team effort, and DHL are well and truly an integral part of the team.

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