O’Reilly Auto Parts 500



Texas Motor Speedway has been chosen as the venue that will play host to the 2018 season finale of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

The visit to Fort Worth will be the eighth and final stop for the international air racing series that began the season in February in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and ultimately will compete in seven different countries.

With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of what to expect this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway:

What is the Red Bull Air Race?

The Red Bull Air Race features the world's best racing pilots in a pure motorsport competition that combines speed, precision and skill. Using the fastest, most agile, lightweight race planes, pilots reach speeds of 230 miles per hour as they navigate a low-level, slalom track featuring 82-foot-high, air-filled pylons.

The objective is to navigate the aerial race layout in the fastest possible time while incurring as few penalties as possible. Pilots earn championship points at each of the eight stops with the world champion being crowned during the season finale at Texas Motor Speedway.

When is the Red Bull Air Race?

The Red Bull Air Race World Championship will run on Saturday, Nov. 17 from approximately 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and again on Sunday, Nov. 18 from approximately 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday’s session will feature Challenger and Master Class practices, as well as qualifying for both divisions. On Sunday, the Challenger Class will make its run first, followed by the Master Class, which will determine its world champion over the course of three rounds (Round of 14, Round of 8 and the Final 4).

Fans will also have the opportunity to view side acts during breaks in the action, as well as purchase a hangar walk add-on package to their grandstand tickets. For more ticket information, click here.

Where at Texas Motor Speedway do they fly the Red Bull Air Race?

The Red Bull Air Race World Championship will be held inside the Texas Motor Speedway. The world-renowned motorsports facility will see its infield transform into an aerial slalom track with 80-foot high pylon gates spaced 33-50 feet apart.

Pilots often battle against the elements, with extreme heats, shifting winds and harsh storms always a possibility. As a result, no two Red Bull Air Races are ever the same.

On average, the racetracks measure approximately 3¾ miles in length and are marked by inflatable air gates. When the track is designed it consists of the start/finish gate, up to four pylon gates, which the pilots have to fly straight and level between, and a chicane that comprises of three individual pylons that pilots will have to bank around.

At one end of the course a Vertical Turning Maneuver (VTM) is included. The VTM is where the pilots have to fly through the gate, then turn as quickly and efficiently as possible without pulling more than 10G in their race plane before fly toward the next gate.  

Who is in the Red Bull Air Race?

Fourteen pilots from 10 countries are competing in the Master Class, including Americans Michael Goulian of Peabody, Mass., and Kirby Chambliss of Corpus Christi, Texas. Goulian currently leads the championship by a five-point margin over Czech Republic’s Martin Sonka. Australian Matt Hall is also within striking distance of winning the title, as he trails Goulian by only seven points.

The Challenger Cup, which offers a new generation of talented pilots an opportunity to gain experience in the sport, features 10 pilots from nine different nations, including American Kevin Coleman and France’s Melanie Astles, the only female competitor in the series. Florian Berger of Germany currently leads the point standings by two over Kenny Chiang of Hong Kong and Luke Czepiela of Poland.

Why is this Red Bull Air Race so important?

Simply, it’s for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

About the author

The Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations Department is located on the 6th floor of The Speedway Club outside of Turn 1 of the speedway. 

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