Pete McLeod Racing 

New Racing Year – New Race Format
Wednesday, 10 February 2016 15:09

With just one month to go before the season opener, officials for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship have revealed a revised race format. As compared to 2015, the new format focuses even more on time, putting heightened emphasis on the skills of the pilots and their teams. In a sport where the placement can hinge on thousandths of a second, this could be the most thrilling season yet.

The overall Race Day structure remains the same: With a starting order based on Qualifying, the entire lineup – 14 of the world’s best pilots – competes in head-to-head elimination heats in the Round of 14. The winner of each heat advances, plus the round’s fastest loser.

Next up are more elimination pairings in the Round of 8, and that’s where the key change comes in. Beginning in 2016, the eight pilots will be reseeded based on their Round of 14 timings. The fastest pilot from the Round of 14 will race against the eighth-fastest, the second-fastest will face the seventh-fastest, and so on. The winner of each heat advances to the Final 4.

Another change is that in those head-to-head pairings, in the rare instance when both pilots fail to score a valid time, neither pilot will move on to the subsequent round. Advancing instead will be a second “fastest loser”: the next pilot in line based on the times recorded among all those who lost their heats.

“We continually review our operations and format and strive to improve competitiveness and fairness. We had two scenarios in 2015 where we had the same pairing in the Round of 14 and Round of 8. So, we changed the order of the Round of 8 to be directly related to the time that each pilot posted in his Round of 14,” explains Race Director Jim DiMatteo. “We all feel this order is more fair to the pilots and improves the competition for any given location, ultimately resulting in an even more exciting race.”

“I think the new race format is much more fair, because it supports those putting effort in all rounds before the final,” says Hannes Arch of Austria, who has stood on the overall podium the past five consecutive seasons, including a World Championship title in 2008. Arch and the rest of the pilots will get their first chance to race in the new format when the high-speed, low-altitude action kicks off at the season opener in Abu Dhabi on 11-12 March 2016.

It’s time to grab a seat: Tickets for most races of the 2016 Red Bull Air Race World Championship are on sale now. For more information on tickets and all the latest, including details on the race format and rules, visit
Red Bull Air Race 2016 Calendar Announced With New locations in Germany and U.S.
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 15:03

The Red Bull Air Race World Championship will mark its ninth season in 2016 with two exciting new stops where fans are passionate about motorsports: the famed Lausitzring in Germany and the U.S. city of Indianapolis, Indiana, home to the Indianapolis 500 that’s renowned as part of the “Triple Crown” of auto racing.

In a season that spans seven countries over eight races, the enthralling motorsport series will also captivate spectators at stops that have already become favorites in the calendar.

It all kicks off on March 11/12, with the traditional season opener over the Arabian Gulf in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates for the ninth straight time. Next up, the action is back at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria – one of the highlight venues in the Formula One calendar on 23/24 April. The high-speed, low-altitude race will then return to Japan, following the overwhelming success of the debut race in 2015 that sold out across the weekend.

The Championship then moves to Budapest, Hungary on July 16/17 where the racetrack’s 25-meter-high pylons are set up in the heart of the city, contrasting wit

h the stunning backdrop of the Parliament Building, a location which has hosted seven races. On August 13/14, the setting is Ascot in England, the renowned horse-racing track that has proven to be one of the all-time favorite stops in the history of the sport, before the series makes that breathlessly anticipated return to the Lausitzring on September 3/4, where fans will be able to savor a race in Germany for the first time since 2010 and cheer local Master Class pilot Matthias Dolderer. Once again the final two races of the season will be in North America; first, on October 1/2, with the Red Bull Air Race premiere at Indianapolis, a sport-loving city in the country’s heartland where motorsport is king. The season finale happens on October 15/16 in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the new World Champion will be crowned at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“We look forward to bringing the race closer to even more fans in 2016, and it will be a privilege to share our sport at two more locations that are rich with motorsport history,” said Erich Wolf, General Manager of Red Bull Air Race GmbH. “The pilots and teams are already hard at work on technical innovations and strategic plans, and the races at all eight stops promise to be faster and more competitive than ever. The year ahead should be thrilling for spectators and competitors alike.”

Ticketing for the 2016 season of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship will begin in mid December. For more information on tickets or the latest, visit ***

2016 Race Calendar:

1. Abu Dhabi, UAE 11/12 March 
2. Spielberg, Austria 23/24 April 
3. Chiba, Japan 4/5 June 
4. Budapest, Hungary 16/17 July 
5. Ascot, Great Britain 13/14 August 
6. Lausitzring, Germany 3/4 September 
7. Indianapolis, Indiana, USA 1/2 October 
8. Las Vegas, Nevada, USA 1 5/16 October
McLeod Closes Out 2015 Season in Las Vegas
Sunday, 18 October 2015 23:57

LAS VEGAS (USA) - Team Garmin's Pete McLeod of Canada came to Las Vegas hoping to hit a winning streak like he had a year ago when he got the first Red Bull Air Race victory of his career but it wasn't in the cards this year and he ended up in 11th place in the final race of the season on Sunday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

McLeod, who had one podium this season in the first race of the year in Abu Dhabi, got knocked out of the high-speed, low-altitude racing in the opening round by France's Nicolas Ivanoff after getting a late penalty that ruined an otherwise strong run. That dropped him down to eighth place overall in the final World Championship standings with 19 points.

"It’s definitely been an up and down season, a lot of progress in some areas and a lot of struggle in others," said McLeod, the youngest pilot in the world's fastest motorsport series. "I had a great time flying here, but I’m already looking to 2016. I’m looking forward to a few days’ break, then we start getting ready for next season. We have some work to do on the airplane."

Team Garmin spend much of the season trying to get more power out of the engine.

"We struggled this year not having enough speed to allow conservative lines – I always had to push and take risks," he said. "I think I moved forward for sure this year, we did a lot of progress with analysis and I think my flying has matured – but still keeping that racing spirit. I am more consistent and I want to keep that going."

Britain's Paul Bonhomme won the World Championship after taking second on Sunday behind Australia's Matt Hall, who won his second race this season. It was Bonhomme’s third championship, in his 10th season after the British ace won the title 2009 and 2010. Bonhomme, who had to overcome technical problems just before the final race, ended up with 76 world championship points, just five ahead of Hall on 71 with Austria’s Hannes Arch third overall with 34 points.

“It’s amazing, just amazing,” said a sweat-drenched Bonhomme, who had four wins and seven podiums in the eight races this season and scored a record-breaking 76 championship points. “ It was the toughest World Championship I’ve ever had. It was hard work.”

Hungary’s Peter Besenyei, one of the most successful pilots in the history of the race with eight career victories, announced that he was retiring from the sport he helped create in 2003. Besenyei, 59, won the title in the inaugural season in 2003.
McLeod Back in Las Vegas With High Hopes A Year After Red Bull Air Race Victory
Friday, 09 October 2015 14:54

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (USA) – Team Garmin’s Pete McLeod returns this weekend to the race track where he pulled off the first and only win of his Red Bull Air Race World Championship career a year ago – in Las Vegas.

The Canadian ace will be trying to avoid the small, irritating penalties that have cost him badly this season in the final race the year on Sunday. A victory in the American gaming capital could lift McLeod all the way from fifth place overall to third. Last year he was fifth overall with 38 points. This year he is fifth with 19 points.

“It’s really hard to believe it was a year ago,” said McLeod of his win here – awarded to him after heavy winds forced the cancellation of the race. McLeod had won the Qualifying session a day earlier. “It was a huge mess last year with the weather and there was a lot of pressure on me in that situation because I qualified first. We’re in a different position this year and a lot of things are different. This race is all about finishing the season on a strong note.”

McLeod has gotten on the podium just once this season, a third place in the season opener in Abu Dhabi. But he could take third overall with a win and the 12 points that come with it on Sunday. He has been hurt by an underperforming engine but also getting untimely penalties for such things as exceeding the 10g limit for a fraction of a second too long – pilots are allowed to exceed the 10g limit for just 0.5 second.

“I would like to fly penalty-free without getting some stupid over-g penalty or over-speed penalty or other kinds of calls of that nature,” said McLeod, who has also been hurt in the past for just barely exceeding the 370-kph speed limit at the start.

In the last race in Fort Worth, McLeod was having a brilliant run in the Round of Eight and came close to knocking out Britain’s Paul Bonhomme in their head-to-head heat. But McLeod exceeded the 10g limit for a fraction of a second too long and was disqualified.

“My net time on the first lap was the fastest first lap on that track ever,” said McLeod. “I really had some runs in Fort Worth that were really fast. I was ahead of Paul at that point and feel I could have beaten him out there in Texas, which would have changed things dramatically for the championship.”

Indeed, McLeod went packing and Bonhomme went on to win the race in Fort Worth to move eight points ahead of Australia’s Matt Hall, who was second in Fort Worth in the world championship race. The title race would have narrowed considerably if McLeod had beaten Bonhomme.

In the battle in Las Vegas for third place overall, Austria’s Hannes Arch leads with 30 points, Martin Sonka of the Czech Republic is in fourth with 28 points. There are three more pilots breathing down Arch’s back in the race for third – Nigel Lamb (GBR) has 20, McLeod (CAN) and Matthias Dolderer (GER) have 19 each.

“It would be nice to get third overall and hopefully I’ll fly well here,” said McLeod. “We’re already focused on 2016. We’ll be looking to put down a fast time every time I’m out in the track.”

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Great Britain
2016 - 08 - 14
MAR 11-12
Abu Dhabi - U.A.E.
APR 23-24
Spielberg - Austria
JUNE 04-05
Chiba - Japan
JULY 16-17
Budapest - Hungary
AUG 13-14
Ascot - Great Britain
SEPT 3-4
Lausitzring - Austria
OCT 1-2
Indianapolis - USA
OCT 15-16
Las Vegas - USA

RBAR 2016 World Championship
1 Matthias Dolderer 41.25
2 Hannes Arch
3 Kirby Chambliss 25.25
4 Yoshi Muroya
5 Nicolas Ivanoff 22.00
6 Nigel Lamb 19.75
7 Matt Hall 18.75
8 Martin Sonka
9 Pete McLeod
10 Francois Le Vot
11 Juan Velarde
12 Michael Goulian  6.75
13 Peter Podlunšek  3.00
14 Petr Kopfstein  2.00
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