With only one race left, four pilots from three continents remain locked in the fight for the 2017 Red Bull Air Race World Championship. Who will triumph to kiss the famous bricks in Indianapolis and take home the World Championship trophy?
After seven global races spanning eight months, the wait is almost over: This coming Saturday and Sunday, the USA’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway will host the Red Bull Air Race season finale for the first time. In a weekend packed with heart-stopping action, one name will join the legends who have made sporting history at the holy grail of motorsport. Will it be Martin Šonka of the Czech Republic, Yoshihide Muroya of Japan, Pete McLeod of Canada or America’s own Kirby Chambliss?
In fact, this will be the second consecutive season that the large speedway crowds will witness the blistering run that wins the World Championship. But while in 2016 Germany’s Matthias Dolderer was sewing up a big advantage well before the season’s end, this year it’s down to the wire. Holding the lead, Šonka has to be considered the favorite for the battle of nerve and skill – but only by a tight margin. Muroya is a mere four points behind and may have momentum after winning the previous stop in Germany.
The young Canadian McLeod trails Šonka by just seven points, and all three of the leaders have the extra motivation of knowing that their maiden World Championship would mark a first for their country. Meanwhile, at 11 points back, Chambliss would be a longshot if he weren’t exactly who he is: a two-time titleholder and the most experienced pilot in the field. When the going gets tough, Chambliss gets going in a big way, and he’ll have the crowd on his side.
With 10 other Master Class pilots looking to play the spoiler as they make one last push to boost their season ranking, there will be no holding back in Indianapolis. And the exciting up-and-comers of the Challenger Class will be vying for their own Challenger Cup, with Germany, Sweden, Poland, the USA, France and Great Britain in the lineup.
The high-speed, low-altitude action of the Red Bull Air Race – with race planes flying right in front of the grandstands at 370kph/230mph and pulling 10 Gs of force – is the latest thrilling chapter in the sporting history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. An official U.S. National Historic Site and the world’s first speedway, “The Brickyard” has earned its reputation as the holy grail of motorsport with events including the Indianapolis 500, NASCAR, Formula 1 and MotoGP. In aviation, the speedway first opened to the public with balloon races in 1909, and in 1910 the venue hosted the Wright Brothers in the USA’s first licensed international aviation meet.
See the champion crowned: Tickets for the Red Bull Air Race season finale at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on 14-15 October are on sale now. For all the latest news and information, including tickets, visit www.redbullairrace.com.