Motoring presenter James May takes on G-flight at season finale

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team

‘Captain Slow’ hits speeds of 200mph at Red Bull Air Race.

James May might have earned the nickname ‘Captain Slow’ but he was anything but as he took to the skies at the Red Bull Air Race World Championship finale weekend in Texas at speeds of 200mph.

The TV presenter, former Top Gear co-host and co-founder of DriveTribe, who is also a qualified pilot, was flown around the course by Dario Costa, the Italian Challenger Class pilot. Here is all you need to know:


– May is himself a qualified pilot – owning an American Champion Scout – but he was not prepared for the speed and agility of the planes in the series as they cut through the 25-metre-high pylons at top speed.

– He also talked at length with three-time world champion Paul Bohomme and visited the hangar of current British entrant Ben Murphy.

– May said: “It was remarkable because to begin with I thought it was a comfortable flight. But then the pylons became a bit alarming because you think the plane isn’t going to fit – and I’m sure someone moved them closer in the night for a laugh. As a pilot, it’s not natural to fly towards things, you’d avoid it at all costs. You have to be made of proper stuff to do that.”

– Of the series itself, he added: “The thing I find interesting about it is that you have practice, qualifying and then the race, and each session can be a completely different track. The Fort Worth track had one track in qualifying and, in the race, it’s as if someone has changed the track overnight.”

– As for any hopes of him entering the 2019 championship, he said: “I would be racing but my pilot licence has lapsed!”

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