Breitling Racing Team Pilots Modify Aircraft to be Ultra Competitive At Ascot

Posted on: 13th Aug 2015

Ascot, UK: On August 15th & 16th fourteen of the worlds best pilots will battle it out over the renowned Ascot Racecourse, taking off and landing directly in front of the grandstands on the revered grass finishing straight. The normal horse power of a thoroughbred will be upped to 300 horsepower of the race aircraft, as the pilots hit speeds of 370 km/h while enduring forces of up to 10G navigating through a low-level slalom track marked by 25-meter high air-filled pylons.


The UK stop of the fastest motorsport series in the world marks the first race over land for the 2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship season. As Nigel Lamb’s home venue he will be giving it his all, as he tests his mettle against the best pilots in the world, where many a great jockey has gone before.


Both Nigel Lamb and fellow Breitling Racing Team pilot François Le Vot have been working on their aircraft following the fourth race in Budapest to help improve their chances of better results over the historical, hallowed turf. The tough course is famed for its triangular nature and large sweeping turns, providing a challenging task for all pilots.

Britain’s Nigel Lamb is keen to put in a good performance after last years narrow second place.


“I believe the reason for my lack of consistency in comparison to last year is the experimenting with the new elevator” says Lamb.

Since Budapest a vast amount of work and has been done to hopefully alter this, with Lamb more determined than ever to have a better performance at the home track.

Lamb explains “There’s a unique standing start at Ascot, so it is vital that everything is pre-set before you roll, as well as ensuring the engine is set up to precision. The application of power, the takeoff technique and the path to the first gate are all important elements that equate to a successful beginning to the race.” With no chance to warm up for the Gz in the air it’s key for the pilots to be prepared for the first onset of horizontal g-force at Gate 2. Nigel is keen to execute this strategy perfectly, following his disqualification for exceeding the maximum limit of 10Gz at the last round in Budapest.


Whilst aware of the tremendous racing experience and high skills required for claiming a podium at Ascot, François Le Vot [who only joined the master class in 2015] is looking forward to racing over land for the first time this season. “The standing start is a new experience for me, most often, we fly through the first gate with the maximum speed allowed because we've had plenty of time to accelerate, when we fly into the track. Here in Ascot, the aircraft that is able to accelerate more than the others will have the advantage by the first gate.”

To be able to adapt to this challenge François team have designed new cowlings for his Edge 540 race aircraft to cool the engine more efficiently and to reduce drag whilst in flight.


At this halfway stage of the season, Nigel Lamb is still in contention to defend his 2014 World Championship title. But with fellow British pilot Paul Bonhomme leading the Championship with 34 points and beating Nigel into 2nd place at Ascot last year, the pressure is on.
World Championship Standings:
1. Bonhomme (34 points), 2. Arch (29), 3. Hall (29), 4. Sonka (16), 5. McLeod (14), 6. Lamb (13), 7. Dolderer (13), 8. Goulian (8), 9. Ivanoff (6), 10. Besenyei (5), 11. Muroya (4), 12. Chambliss (2), 13. Velarde (0), 14. Le Vot (0)