Breitling Racing Team Pilots Will Go ‘All Out’ to Win the First Red Bull Air Race in Japan

Posted on: 13th May 2015

Tokyo, Japan, 11th May 2015: The second of eight rounds that make up the Red Bull Air Race World Championships is set to make the history books as the first ever air race to take place in Japan. In May 1912, Japan’s first civilian airfield was established on the tidelands along the Inage coast in Chiba City, based on an idea by Sanji Narahara, the pioneer of the aviation in Japan. In contrast, 103 years later the cutting edge of aviation technology will be put to the test as 14 of the World’s elite air racers compete through 25m high air gates that will line the north coast of Tokyo Bay, in the Chiba prefecture.

Three of these pilots, defending Red Bull Air Race World Champion, Nigel Lamb, Master Class newcomer, François le Vot and local aviation hero Yoshihide Moruya describe the anticipation and build-up to this unique sporting event.

Nigel Lamb, “For me I have all the elements ready; team, aircraft, and strategic analysis to go all out to win this first race in Japan. Last year, the first race ever to be held in Asia [Putrajaya, Malaysia] provided my first air race career win and put me on track to win the overall 2014 championship. For the Chiba City race, it is an interesting track in a great location and we look forward to the challenge of trying to beat Yoshi, in his new aircraft, on his home ground, sorry Yoshi!”

François Le Vot, “I’ve always thought that Aerobatics was a kind of Martial Art. To optimize my physical and mental preparation for international aerobatic competitions, I had decided to learn Karate and it happened to be a very relevant initiative. Now I have to channel this learning from aerobatics into air racing and having a race in Chiba is a fantastic opportunity to get a real taste of this “other side of the earth” country and spirit.
Le Vot continues:
“The race is a fight by essence where fears, doubts and anxieties are commonplace feelings that are to be dealt with. In parallel, some high human values such as humility and respect are to be exalted. What better place than Japan to be initiated into the art of mental preparations and fighting against other combatants, the strongest mentally and the most consistent will win the battle.”

Yoshihide Muroya, who also carries the independent watch company Breitling as a team partner and will be racing in the distinctive black flight suit in Japan, comments “I’m looking forward to trying out my new aircraft for this home race in Chiba, I have my team to thank for working tirelessly to get the V3.5 Edge ready in time. The aircraft has been designed with a minimum sized canopy to reduce aerodynamic parasitic drag and also modified cowling design to minimize engine-cooling drag. I always feel Nigel has the faster aircraft, so I look forward to seeing how we can now give him a more competitive race!”

Throughout all the friendly joking and laughter, the three pilots agreed they are all great friends and part of the same aviation family on the ground. However, in the air it is highly competitive and a battle against each other as well as the other pilots for the race win.

The three pilots will now retreat behind the drawn battle lines of their hangars and work with their individual teams to find the elusive fractions of a second that will help their podium possibilities and World Championship campaign.

Using the quickest lines through the gates and chicanes, each pilot aims to be as fast as possible without incurring penalties. Penalties are awarded if the aircraft touches an air
gate, passes too high over the gate or is not wings level in the double pylon gates. Without an extremely precise yet aggressive flying style, the pilot has no chance to win.

Besides being the exclusive team sponsor of Nigel Lamb and Francois Le Vot, and supporting team partner of Yoshihide Muroya, the chronograph specialist Breitling, which is renowned for its long-standing links to the world of aviation, will also be the official time keeping sponsor of the Red Bull Air Race.