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Red Bull Air Race Returns in 2014
It's back! The Red Bull Air Race World Championship will return to the skies starting next year with a seven-race circuit across six countries. Two of the world championship races will take place in the United States — first at the Texas Motor Speedway near Dallas next September 6-7 followed by a race October 11-12 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The Red Bull Air Race has been on hiatus the last three years as organizers have sought to make changes designed to improve course safety. For 2014, technical adjustments include adopting standard engines and propellers for all pilots, making changes to the lightweight nylon pylon material (making it easier for them to burst apart if they are clipped by race planes) and raising the height of the pylons that the pilots pass through from 65 feet to 80 feet. The high-G 270-degree "Quatro" turn through a set of four pylons from previous years has also been eliminated due to the exceedingly high g-force it exerts on the airplanes and pilots, organizers said.
The upcoming season will see the return of many fan-favorite pilots, including Kirby Chambliss and Michael Goulian of the United States and Paul Bonhomme of England. Twelve pilots in all will compete in the championship series, which kicks off in February with a race in Abu Dhabi. From there races are scheduled in Malaysia, Poland, England, the United States and the final race of the year, in Kunshan, China, November 1-2.
"I'm excited that there will be two races in the U.S.," said Chambliss, a two-time Red Bull champion and Texas native. "It's a really cool perspective from a spectator standpoint racing at the motor speedways because you're actually looking down on the airplanes as they race through the gates."
The Red Bull races began in 2003 and were held for eight seasons before being suspended due to safety concerns, which included a number of near disasters attributed to the demands of the courses, which require pilots to negotiate at high speed through a series of tightly spaced gates.