Abu Dhabi (UAE) will host the season opener of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship for the tenth time in a row on the 10th – 11th of February 2017. At speeds of 370kph with forces up to 10G, a field of 14 pilots will begin their eight-race campaign for the 2017 title in the desert skies, fresh with the improved race plane technology and heightened physical fitness they’ve gained in the off-season.

The race teams from five continents will face the heat of Abu Dhabi and the stop in the Emirates also marks the diamond 75th World Championship race, a landmark for this relatively new discipline among top-level motorsports.

The Red Bull Air Race said that Matthias Dolderer of Germany will look to continue where he left off when he claimed the 2016 title with dominant consistency. But across nine seasons so far, only one pilot (Great Britain’s Paul Bonhomme, who is now a Red Bull Air Race commentator) has ever managed to capture two crowns consecutively. Dolderer’s 13 powerful opponents will be aiming to derail his charge and build early-season momentum of their own.

Among the unpredictable factors in what promises to be a gripping season are two new Master Class pilots – Cristian Bolton of Chile and Mika Brageot of France – who together combine for more applicable experience than any previous newcomers thanks to training in the Challenger Cup and the Master Mentoring Program. Meanwhile, the Challenger Class, with three new members in 2017 including the first Red Bull Air Race pilot from China, will also be in action.

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Erich Wolf, General Manager of Red Bull Air Race, stated: “The teams have been arriving with exceptional focus and determination, and the pilots are eager to add their names to the 10-year legacy here by winning this 75th World Championship race.”

The airplanes race will be held in eight cities worldwide. San Diego (USA) will host the second race on the 15th – 16th of April 2017.