Lamb looks to continue his climb in Chiba

Posted on: 1st Jun 2016


At April’s second stop of the 2016 Red Bull Air Race World Championship, Great Britain’s Nigel Lamb made short work of getting his season back on track. Fast-forward six weeks, and it’s full speed ahead for the 2014 World Champion as he faces his next challenge: the wild and windy action in Chiba, Japan.

Nigel Lamb is renowned for the consistency of his flying, which won him the Red Bull Air Race World Championship just two seasons ago. But don’t call him predictable. The British pilot is fully capable of springing a stunning surprise on his opponents, as he did at the Red Bull Air Race in Spielberg, Austria on 24 April. After a forgettable 2016 season opener in Abu Dhabi, Lamb soared to third place among Spielberg’s snowflakes, earning his thirteenth career race podium and launching himself from eleventh to sixth in the World Championship standings. With a half-dozen races to go, he’s only three points away from the third spot overall. A strong performance in Chiba, Japan on 4-5 June would emphatically affirm that Lamb is back to his title-winning ways.


When the Red Bull Air Race made its Japanese debut in 2015, a typhoon cut into training time, and windy conditions resulted in a parade of pylon hits and penalties. Nonetheless, Lamb and his Breitling Racing Team pulled off a top-five finish in front of the sold-out Race Weekend crowds of 120,000.

As the world’s fastest motorsport series in the sky returns to Chiba, Lamb will need all the steadiness that comes from vying in nine seasons of high-speed, low-altitude racing. At the only open-water venue of 2016, the warm, humid and potentially blustery conditions of Japan’s rainy season are sure to put man and machine to the test on a newly configured racetrack.


“The Chiba track is significantly different from 2015, and I’d say more of a challenge. One key issue will be how the VTM [vertical turning maneuver] is judged, as we have to fly that vertically – which is not the fastest way, so everyone will be wanting to stay as flat as possible,” says Lamb, whose fire to compete burns brighter than ever in what he has announced will be his last season before hanging up his racing gloves. “The schedule has only three Free Practice flights, so it’s going to be tough to find the best line and stay on it in such a short time!”


In the Red Bull Air Race, which is the official world championship of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the world's top pilots hit speeds of 370kmh while enduring forces of up to 10G as they navigate a low-level slalom track marked by 25-meter-high, air-filled pylons. It’s the ultimate motorsport series in the sky.


The racing at Chiba’s Makuhari Beach kicks off with Qualifying on Saturday, 4 June, followed by Race Day on Sunday, 5 June 2016.