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IMS Set to Make More High-Altitude History

The world’s most elite master class pilots will soar to new heights above the skies of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this October in the newest addition to the Red Bull Air Race World Championship schedule. This historic announcement brings IMS’ legacy as a center for aviation innovation full circle and unites two iconic sporting traditions and global brands.

“Orville and Wilbur Wright were some of the first pilots to take to the skies above the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the first licensed aviation competition in United States history,” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “In 2016, as we celebrate the historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, it’s fitting that the world’s best pilots will gather at IMS for a breathtaking display of competition and innovation that will honor the legacies of IMS founder Carl Fisher, the Wright brothers and their fellow aviation pioneers.”   

“Red Bull Air Race is looking forward to partnering with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2016 and bringing the race to the fans,” said Erich Wolf, General Manager at Red Bull Air Race GmbH.  “IMS is a perfect location for the Red Bull Air Race due to its motorsport and aviation history and presence and we cannot wait to bring our sport to the skies above the track.”

The Red Bull Air Race World Championships is the ultimate motorsports competition in the sky and takes place with eight races across four continents. The objective is to navigate an aerial racetrack featuring air-filled pylons in the fastest possible time while incurring as few penalties as possible.

The race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be the seventh race of the season, in between stops at Lausitzring, Germany, and Las Vegas, Nev. It will award 12 world championship points to the winner.  

Each Red Bull Air Race consists of the following flying sessions: Training, Qualifying, Round of 14, Round of 8 and Final 4. In all sessions, only one pilot races in the track at a time. Training at IMS will take place on Sept. 29-30, followed by a single day dedicated to two qualifying competitions on Oct 1. Race Day on Oct. 2 will consist of Round of 14, Round of 8 and Final 4 competitions. Competitors regularly reach speeds of nearly 230 mph.  

Today’s announcement adds an impressive new chapter to the IMS aviation legacy. The first race held at IMS was also the first national balloon race, in 1909, the same year the world’s first air race took place in Reims, France. In 1910, IMS hosted the nation’s first licensed aviation meet, with pilot Walter S. Brookins breaking the world altitude record. The Speedway also served as a military aviation and refueling depot during World War I.

“Aviation has always been an influential and fascinating piece of our track’s history,” said Donald Davidson, IMS historian. “Today’s announcement pays tribute to this piece of our legacy and brings an exciting new event to our schedule.” 

Fans seeking information on the event can bookmark for updates or reach out to Tickets are on sale now with pricing options ranging from $30-$60 for single day passes. 

For more information on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the upcoming 2016 season and the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, go to

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