Red Bull Discontinues Air Races


The Red Bull Air Race World Championship will not be continuing beyond the 2019 season, Red Bull announced on Wednesday. According to the company’s statement, “The Red Bull Air Race provided sports entertainment of highest quality but did not attract the level of outside interest as many other Red Bull events across the world.”

The first Red Bull Air Race was held on June 28, 2003, in Zeltweg, Austria. More than 90 individual races have taken place since it began. The race objective, as described by Red Bull, is “for pilots, in their single-engine, piston raceplanes to navigate an aerial racetrack featuring air-filled pylons in the fastest possible time incurring as few penalties as possible.”

The remaining races of the 2019 season will take place in Kazan, Russia, on June 15-16; Lake Balaton, Hungary, on July 13-14; and Chiba, Japan, on September 7-8. Yoshihide Moroya of Japan is leading the current standings followed by 2018 champion Martin Sonka of the Czech Republic and the USA’s Michael Goulian.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. I can’t say that this is a big shock. Red Bull did a good job of promoting the races and the pilots are obviously highly skilled and fierce competitors. But, it seems there are too major flaws in the concept. First, I think they tried to have too many races in locations that have little base support for general aviation. Russia, really? Better to have stayed in Europe and North America. Second, watching small single engine airplanes buzzing around a course is kind of like getting fans to show up at Indianapolis or Daytona to watch go carts buzz around the track. People want large and noisy. Red Bull put on a great venue and did their best, but unfortunately there just aren’t enough small plane nuts out there to support the program.

  2. This happened because Red Bull owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, finally pulled the plug on his Red Bull Air Race CEO, Eric Wolf. Wolf, who retired under duress as a Major General in the Austrian Air Force due to financial improprieties, has lost over $200 million since 2013 running the races. He had little to no experience in promotion of this type of event and was a terrible choice. He finally started bringing people who knew what they were doing in this past year but too little too late. Wolf could not even get the calendar set for the current year much less future years. This failure rests on one person and one person only—Mr. Wolf.