Red Bull Air Race Adds 2 Pilots
The Master Class for the 9th season of Red Bull Air Races will feature 14 pilots from 11 countries with the addition of Francois Le Vot of France and Juan Velarde of Spain. Le Vot and Velarde won their rides at Qualification Camp in Salzburg, Austria this week where the two pilots earned their Red Bull Air Race Super License.
Both pilots excelled in the Challenger Cup step series last season. Le Vot will become the second French pilot in the competition alongside Nicolas Ivanoff while Velarde is hoping to capture the enthusiasm for the Red Bull Race in Spain after more than a million spectators watched each of the two races in Barcelona in 2006 and 2009.
40 year old Velarde (bottom right) has spent many years working to get the Master Class ride saying, “It’s one of the greatest things that ever happened in my life, it’s the chance of a lifetime.” He began flying aerobatics in 1999 and took part in all the European and World Aerobatic Championships between 2004 and 2011, helping Spain win the Team Silver Medal at the 2007 World Aerobatics Championships. Velarde won the Spanish national overall aerobatics championship in 2010.
The 44 year old Le Vot (bottom left) said, “It’s a great honor and a great opportunity to compete against the best in the world”. He spent 12 years flying an AlphaJet for the French Air Force and is also an accomplished aerobatics pilot. With a decade of successes in both the World and European Aerobatics Unlimited Championships, winning a European silver medal in 2012 he helped the French team to win the gold medal. He also won the 2013 World Aerobatic Championship title in 2013.
Jim DiMatteo, Race Director recognizing their hard work said, “Thanks to the knowledge and practice gained in the Challenger Cup competition, the two new pilots will start their Master Class careers with more experience than any first-year pilots before. The overall level of their experience and skill will be higher than ever before."
2015 Master Class Pilots: Hannes Arch Peter Besenyei Paul Bonhomme Kirby Chambliss Matthias Dolderer Mike Goulian Matt Hall Nicolas Ivanoff Nigel Lamb Francois Le Vot Pete McLeod Yoshihide Muroya Martin Sonka Juan Velarde
2015 Race Calendar: Abu Dhabi (13/14 February) Chiba, Japan (16/17 May) Sochi, Russia* (30 /31 May) Budapest, Hungary (4/5 July) Ascot, England (15/16 August) Spielberg, Austria (5/6 September) Dallas, Texas, United States (26/27 September) Las Vegas, Nevada, United States (17/18 October)