Rules

Rules

An overview of the rules and principles that govern the Red Bull Air Race World Championship
The Red Bull Air Race World Championship is an international series of races. The objective is for pilots, in their single-engine, piston raceplanes to navigate an aerial racetrack featuring air-filled pylons in the fastest possible time incurring as few penalties as possible.

Pilots can win World Championship points at each race and the pilot with the most points after the last race of the season becomes the Red Bull Air Race World Champion.

THE RED BULL AIR RACE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

The Red Bull Air Race World Championship is an international series of races with the participation of at least eight pilots at each race. The objective is to navigate an aerial racetrack featuring air-filled pylons in the fastest possible time incurring as few penalties as possible.

Pilots can win World Championship points at each race and the pilot with the most points after the last race of the season becomes the Red Bull Air Race World Champion.

THE CHALLENGER CUP

In 2014, the Challenger Cup was conceived to help the next generation of pilots develop the skills needed for potential advancement to the Master Class.

The Challenger Cup is the second competition category in the Red Bull Air Race and is designed to build on a pilot's existing experience. The pilots will fly at the same locations as the Master Class pilots but sometimes will race a simpler track configuration. Each pilot will fly five races in the 2019 season.

Race format

Master class

The Red Bull Air Race consists of the following flying sessions: Free Practice, Qualifying, Round of 14, Round of 8, Final 4. In all sessions, only one pilot races in the track at a time.

Master Class Race Format

Qualifying

Day 1 - Qualifying day

Takes place on Qualifying Day, the day before Race Day. It includes two mandatory Qualifying sessions. Best time counts. Results of the Qualifying session determine the order of racing on Race Day.

14th pilot
13th pilot
12th pilot
11th pilot
10th pilot
9th pilot
8th pilot
7th pilot
6th pilot
5th pilot
4th pilot
3rd pilot
2nd pilot
1st pilot

Round of 14

Day 2 - race day

Takes place on Race Day. This flying session is completed in head-to-head heats; the seven winners plus the Fastest Loser move forward to the Round of 8. The head-to-head pairings are based on the Qualifying session results.

Heat 1

10th Qualifying

5th Qualifying

Heat 2

11th Qualifying

4th Qualifying

Heat 3

9th Qualifying

6th Qualifying

Heat 4

12th Qualifying

3rd Qualifying

Heat 5

8th Qualifying

7th Qualifying

Heat 6

13th Qualifying

2nd Qualifying

Heat 7

14th Qualifying

1st Qualifying

Round of 8

Day 2 - race day

Seven winners from the Round of 14, plus the Fastest Loser, race in head-to-head heats again. The four winning pilots advance to the Final 4. The eight pilots will be reseeded for the Round of 8 and head-to-head pairings are based on the Round of 14 times. For the losing pilots, their time in the Round of 8 will determine 5th to 8th place race positions.

Heat 8

5th Fastest

4th Fastest

Heat 9

6th Fastest

3rd Fastest

Heat 10

7th Fastest

2nd Fastest

Heat 11

8th Fastest

1st Fastest

Final 4

Day 2 - race day

The four heat winners from the Round of 8 compete in the Final 4 for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place race positions. The pilots fly in the same order as the for previous round. They race individually and victory is based on the quickest time recorded for the session.

Winner Heat 8
Winner Heat 9
Winner Heat 10
Winner Heat 11
Challenger class

For the 2019 season six Challenger Class pilots will compete at each race and each pilot will fly in five races over the season.

Challenger Class Race Format

Scoring

Master Class

For the first time since 2010, points will be awarded in Qualifying: three points for the fastest, two for second place, and one for third. In addition, pilots will continue to receive Race Day points according to their final placement, but the allotment has changed, and bonus points will be added for advancing through the rounds (five points for advancement to the Round of 8 and three points for advancing to the Final 4). Given that the 2018 World Champion has been decided by five points or less in the past two seasons, these extra scoring opportunities could be crucial, and the new scheme is sure to shake up strategies.

Qualifying

 PLACE   POINTS
1st   3
2nd   2
3rd   1

Race

 PLACE   POINTS
1st   25
2nd   22
3rd   20
4th   18
5th   14
6th   13
7th   12
8th    11
9th   5
10th   4
11th   3
12th   2
13th   1
14th   0

The race winner is the pilot who is ranked number one in the final flying session of a race.

The Red Bull Air Race World Champion is the Master Class pilot who achieves the highest aggregate score in the given Red Bull Air Race World Championship season. The winner is crowned at the last stop in the World Championship.

Challenger class

Challenger Cup points are awarded after each race, and will help determine the winner of the Challenger Cup at the end of the season. The points system is as follows:

 PLACE   POINTS
1st   10
2nd   8
3rd   6
4th   4
5th   2
6th   0

Six Challenger Class pilots will take part at each event in the race calendar. Each pilot will compete in five races throughout the season. The pilot with the most points at the end of the season will be crowned the Challenger Cup Champion.

Race Rules

Failure to fly the course within the rules will result in penalty seconds or disqualification. Here are some of the more frequently broken rules. To learn more about the race rules of Red Bull Air Race, watch the video below.

OVER G
Penalty incurred when a pilot reaches 11G, but was under 12G for a Master Class pilot, or under 11G for a Challenger Class pilot.
+ 1 Second

EXCEEDING MAXIMUM G
Incurred when a Master Class pilot reaches 12G, or when a Challenger Class pilot reaches 11G.
DNF (Did Not Finish)

EXCEEDING START SPEED LIMIT
Incurred when the pilot exceeds the entry speed of 200kts through the Start Gate. For exceeding by under 1.99kts it’s 1 seconds penalty, otherwise a DNF.
+1 second / DNF

DEVIATION FROM THE COURSE
When the pilot deviates from the racetrack, the run is stopped.
DNF

WEIGHT PENALTY
Incurred when a pilot does not reach the minimum 696 kg weight requirement.
DQ (Disqualification)

PYLON HIT
Penalty incurred when any part of the raceplane touches a pylon.
1st pylon hit: + 3 seconds
2nd pylon hit: + 3 seconds
3rd pylon hit: DNF

INCORRECT LEVEL FLYING
Penalty incurred when flying through a gate at an angle, or climbing/sinking in the gate.
+ 2 second

INSUFFICIENT SMOKE
Penalty incurred if a raceplane isn’t producing smoke during the pilot’s run.
+ 1 second

FLYING TOO HIGH/LOW
Penalty incurred if flying above or below the flight window.
+ 2 seconds

INCORRECT VERTICAL TURNING MANOEUVRE
Penalty incurred when the pilot deviates from the briefed manoeuvre. If excessive, a DNF is incurred.
+ 1 Second /DNF

Pilots

Master class

For 2019, 14 pilots will take part in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. Master Class pilots will have obtained their Master Class Super Licence, as issued by the Red Bull Air Race Committee.

Challenger class

A total of 12 pilots will compete in the Challenger Cup in 2019. Six Challenger Class pilots will take part at each event in the race calendar, with each flying five races throughout the season. The pilot with the most points at the end of the season will be crowned the Challenger Cup winner.

Becoming a Red Bull Air Race Pilot
New pilots who wish to participate in the World Championship must first fulfil the minimum criteria set by the Red Bull Air Race Committee, which include top achievements in international flying competitions organised by the FAI. They must also be active aerobatic air display pilots. Eligible pilots that prove their skills at the Red Bull Air Race Qualification Camp can achieve the Red Bull Air Race Challenger Class Super Licence. Once they have the Challenger Class Super Licence, they then qualify to take part in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the Challenger Cup.

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