Talking Stats: The Red Bull Air Race In Numbers

Across 14 seasons of red-hot rivalries, these 10 stats stand out

After 94 races since 2003 there have been some unique stats and some facinating facts. Here are 10 of the best...

1. The youngest and quickest pilots ever to win the Red Bull Air Race World Championship: Martin Šonka of the Czech Republic was the youngest pilot, aged only 40 when he hoisted the trophy in 2018. Hannes Arch was the fastest to claim the honor, taking the title in only his second season, 2008.

2. Best season finish by a newcomer to the World Championship: Matt Hall of Australia, who finished third on the World Championship podium in his rookie season, 2009. In the process Hall also set the mark for the fastest ascent from first start to first race podium, taking third place in Porto, Portugal, in only his fifth race.

3. The closest season finish: 2007, when the USA’s Mike Mangold and Britain’s Paul Bonhomme were tied in the points at 47 all, so the decision had to be based on their placements across the season. Each had three wins, three results in second place, three in third, and one in fifth, so the countback to break the tie went all the way to Qualifying, where Mangold’s results gave him the crown.

4. Best season finish in the World Championship by a former member of the feeder Challenger Class: Ben Murphy of Great Britain, who took the challenge right to the stars of the field in his rookie 2018 season. Murphy set new benchmarks for Challenger Cup graduates with 29 World Championship points and seventh place overall.

5. The pilot to win the World Championship by the biggest margin: Matthias Dolderer of Germany, who in 2016 clinched the title at the penultimate race with a whopping 24.5-point advantage. He was the only pilot ever to secure the crown before the season finale.

6. Pilots with the all-time most race starts and most race podiums: Kirby Chambliss of the USA has the most race starts, with 92. Kirby was the only pilot to participate in the series from its first year, 2003, through its last, 2019. But even his 33 race podiums cannot match the record of Paul Bonhomme of Great Britain, who stood on the top step at 46 races.

7. The numbers that made it truly a World Championship: Across 12 seasons of competition in the official World Championship, the Red Bull Air Race Master Class included 27 pilots from 17 countries and six continents. 

8. Number of raceplanes used since the beginning of the Red Bull Air Race in 2003, including both the Master Class and the Challenger Class: 70, including the Extra 300SC, Extra 330LX, Edge 540 V2, Edge 540 V3, MXS-R, MX2, Corvus Racer, Sukhoi 26, and Cap 232.

9. Number of race venues over land vs. water since the start of the sport in 2003: As the raceplanes took off in 35 different locations in 21 countries, 19 cities hosted races over water and 16 cities featured tracks over land.

10. Key figures about the Red Bull Air Race World Championship trophy: The coveted honour – which weighs 16 kg! – is engraved with the names of the nine pilots who won the title in the World Championship’s 12 seasons. They are Mike Mangold (USA; 2005, 2007), Kirby Chambliss (USA; 2006), Hannes Arch (AUT; 2008), Paul Bonhomme (GBR; 2009, 2010, 2015), Nigel Lamb (GBR; 2014), Matthias Dolderer (GER; 2016), Yoshihide Muroya (JPN; 2017), Martin Šonka (CZE; 2018), Matt Hall (AUS; 2019).

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