François Le Vot
Currently in his fifth season of the World Championship, François Le Vot 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 stops in the first Challenger Cup season (2014).
Le Vot, who makes his home in the south of France, retired as a flight instructor from the country’s “Armée de l’Air” after a distinguished 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, the team World Aerobatic Championship (twice), the team European Aerobatics Championship and the individual French National Aerobatics Championship – 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 4,500 flight hours, including 1,500 hours in military jet aircraft and more than 1,200 hours in aerobatics. He is also in demand internationally as an aerobatics coach. Le Vot balances his sharp focus with a quick wit and sense of humour that reflect the fun he finds in flying.
After launching his Master Class career in 2015, Le Vot confidently blazed into 2016 by taking his first Master Class podium: third place in Abu Dhabi. Looking to elevate his results further, he introduced a new raceplane in the heart of the 2017 campaign, and Tobias Odewald, one of the most successful technicians in the Red Bull Air Race hangars, came on board in the offseason to implement key modifications and refinements, followed by expert tactician Hartmut Siegmann in the summer of 2018. The new members gelled quickly with the rest of the team, together producing Le Vot’s best season overall in the World Championship, including four appearances in the Round of 8.
“The target is to get to top performance, which probably means to win the championship at one stage!” Le Vot says. “As always, I do what I can with what I have, and regret nothing.”