For the fourth race of the 2016 Red Bull Air Race calendar, the World Championship returns to the stunning city of Budapest. The Hungarian capital is a favourite with fans and pilots alike for several reasons, not least the stunning backdrop of the Parliament Building next to the iconic Danube. But the main attraction that gives Budapest the edge as a race location is the spectacle of pilots flying under the Chain Bridge, before powering through the Start Gate.
The unique addition of flying under the bridge adds an extra dimension to the flying: "It adds a complication. The pilots will be looking into the cockpit to check their entry speed, but they will also want to be looking at the bridge," Race Director Steve Jones explains. "There's a chance we'll see some penalties for excessive speed," he adds.
The long and narrow track runs along the length of the Danube, and for 2016 will see a new feature. The addition of a chicane brings a new technical element that has to be navigated on both the first outgoing lap and the second return lap.
Another challenge will be the first vertical turning manoeuvre – it's likely to be quick and it could be all too easy to bust the G-limit and gain a DNF result. Judgement needs to be spot on here – some pilots will prefer to stay flat, but the safety line is situated very close to the racetrack... it will be all about precision and speed at this point.
Aside from the track, pilots will be keeping a close eye on the weather – and it looks like it's going to be hot! In July, the temperature averages 21°C in Budapest, but last year the temperature gauge nudged 40°C over race weekend. The soaring heat could cause engines to lose power. The summer heat in Hungary can be dry with very little wind, so cooling the engine will be the biggest problem for all teams. But one thing is for sure; whatever the weather, it's going to be one stunning spectacle of a race...
Tickets for the fourth stop of the Red Bull Air Race on 16-17 July are still available! Get your tickets to Budapest HERE.