Courtesy of Red Bull AIr Race Media Service
Will Team Hamilton and French pilot Nicolas Ivanoff have their raceplane ready for his first-ever home race?
Fans of Ivanoff – the winningest French pilot in the history of the World Championship – have been in suspense ever since his wingtip hit a pylon and detached during a training camp for February’s Red Bull Air Race season kickoff in Abu Dhabi. The unique occurrence meant that comprehensive evaluation of the aircraft was essential for safety, so Ivanoff flew a backup raceplane at the race in the Emirates.
Then the pressure was on: The second stop of the season on 20-22 April is the long-awaited Red Bull Air Race debut in France. If the evaluation showed that Ivanoff couldn’t fly the Number 27 raceplane that Technician Tom Fitzgerald had upgraded over months of work in the off-season, Team Hamilton simply wouldn’t be competitive in front of the pilot’s home crowds in Cannes. Even more devastating – their entire season would be in jeopardy with only six races to follow.
Now, there’s good news for French fans: a recent catchup with Ivanoff revealed that the potentially devastating situation is looking up.
“As soon as we got the raceplane back from Abu Dhabi, we took it to Gap [France], and while the inspection showed that we needed some repair to the fuselage, it was less than we had expected.” reported the relieved pilot, who has a career total of five race wins to his credit.
Ivanoff continued, “However, even though we were lucky that the damage was not as bad as it looked at first, it has been a tremendous challenge to finish the work in time for the race in Cannes. Thanks to a big effort by the team, the fuselage repair is done, the wingtips are done, and I expect to start taking it for test flights by the end of March.”
All inspections and repairs were executed and verified under the meticulous review of the Red Bull Air Race technical team led by Technical Director Jim Reed, as well as in close consultation with Zivko Aeronautics, the US-based manufacturer of Ivanoff’s Edge 540 V2.
“Everybody on the team is in a good mood, Nicolas has his head in the right place for racing and the plane is in great shape,” reports Team Coordinator Jean-Paul Kieffer. “Cannes will be a new start to the season, and it’s looking excellent.”
See Air Racing on the Riviera! Nicolas Ivanoff and Team Hamilton take off in Cannes on 20-22 April 2018, and tickets are on sale now. For more information and all the latest, visit www.redbullairrace.com
Red Bull Air Race 2018 Calendar
2-3 February: Abu Dhabi, UAE
20-22 April: Cannes, France
26-27 May: Chiba, Japan
23-24 June: Budapest, Hungary
25-26 August: Kazan, Russia
6-7 October: Indianapolis, USA
About Red Bull Air Race
Created in 2003, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship has held more than 80 races around the globe. The Red Bull Air Race World Championship features the world’s best race pilots in a pure motorsport competition that combines speed, precision and skill. Using the fastest, most agile, lightweight racing planes, pilots hit speeds of 370kmh while enduring forces of up to 12G as they navigate a low-level slalom track marked by 25-meter-high, air-filled pylons. In 2014, the Challenger Cup was conceived to help the next generation of pilots develop the skills needed for potential advancement to the Master Class that vies for the World Championship.