Beyond the Sports: Abu Dhabi Tourism Sector reaps benefits of Abu Dhabi Sports Council hosting Red Bull Air Race World Championship Season Opener

Source: ADSC 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AM Share this:

Now in its 12th year, the Red Bull Air Race in Abu Dhabi is projected to be one of the most highly attended events on the World Championship’s race circuit.

The event last year drew crowds of over 50,000 across the two days of which nearly 15,000 who arrived in Abu Dhabi specifically to attend the race.

HE Ahmed Al Qubaisi, Director of Events and Marketing of Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), said the Air Race in Abu Dhabi was free of charge for the crowds to enjoy and it created a festive atmosphere to the beautiful Corniche on the shimmering waters of the Arabian Gulf.

Al Qubaisi said the Air Race comes a week after the conclusion of a highly successful AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, which was the biggest continental championship ever with the participation of 24 countries.

“Prior to that, we hosted the FIFA Club World Cup, the HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the FINA World Swimming Marathon and High Diving World Championship, and the Etihad Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix,” he added.

“The sporting gala doesn’t stop after the Air Race but will continue with the UAE Cycling Tour in February, the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi in March and Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship in April.

“All these events take place with the support and backing of our stakeholders and sponsors who continue to contribute to the success of the Abu Dhabi sporting events.

On behalf of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Al Qubaisi thanked Red Bull for their unwavering support over the years.

“A special mention must go to our national companies, the Traffic Authority and the Traffic Police and the Police Department to ensure these world-class sporting events take place with the safety and security of the public,” he said.

“May I take this opportunity to thank all our stakeholders, sponsors, partners and volunteers for your continued support.

To all the participants in the Air Race, I salute your courage, commitment and I wish you well for the Abu Dhabi race and in your upcoming preparations.”

Elaborating on the economic impact of the Red Bull Air Race, Erich Wolf, General Manager of Red Bull Air Race added: “From employing local suppliers to creating promotional campaigns in conjunction with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, we work closely with the Abu Dhabi Government in order to ensure a successful season opener.

“Abu Dhabi stages the Red Bull Air Race for the 12th time and this race marks our 91st World Championship race, which makes our relationship special. We are very proud of this tradition and look forward continuing to race here for years to come.”

–          Accredited by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the Red Bull Air Race World Championship is an aerial motorsport series that demands a combination of speed, precision and skill. Flying just metres above water or the ground, 14 Master Class pilots reach speeds of up to 370 km/h and endure forces up to 12G in technical racetracks of air-filled pylons.

–          Holding the Red Bull Air Race season opener in Abu Dhabi has become a motorsport tradition. The cutting-edge, single-seat raceplanes fly right in front of crowds who line the famed Corniche shoreline, against a dramatic backdrop of Abu Dhabi’s sensational skyscrapers.

–          With the same powerful lineup of 14 of the planet’s best air race pilots returning to the World Championship from 2018, fierce rivalries will pick up right where they left off at the season finale last November.

–          Among those to watch: reigning World Champion Martin Šonka (CZE), keen to defend his first-ever title; Matt Hall (AUS) and Michael Goulian (USA), who finished just behind Šonka on the World Championship podium; Yoshihide Muroya (JPN), the 2017 World Champion determined to bounce back from fifth place overall last year; and Mika Brageot (FRA) and Ben Murphy (GBR), who have already challenged the leaders despite being the newest pilots in the field with only three complete seasons between them.

–          Four previous Abu Dhabi race winners are in the 2019 lineup: Michael Goulian of the USA (2018), Martin Šonka of the Czech Republic (2017), Nicolas Ivanoff of France (2016) and Kirby Chambliss of the USA (2006).

–          The feeder class of the Red Bull Air Race, the Challenger Class, expands to 12 pilots this year, including newcomers from Austria, Switzerland and the USA. Six of these next-generation pilots will launch their season in Abu Dhabi, starting the campaign to earn points toward the Challenger Cup.

–          Altogether across the Master Class and the Challenger Class, the 26 pilots represent 17 countries and six continents.

–          Qualifiers in Abu Dhabi will be on Friday, 8 February. A new rule will award World Championship points for the top three pilots, making Qualifying Day more crucial than ever.

–          Race Day is Saturday, 9 February, including three intense rounds before a winner is determined in the Master Class, as well as the excitement of the Challenger Class race.

See it live: Tickets for the Red Bull Air Race 2019 – including the season opener in Abu Dhabi – are on sale now. For all the latest news and information, visit