Canadian pilot McLeod returns to Porto on 2-3 September
The last time the Red Bull Air Race headed to Porto, Portugal, it was 2009, and Canada’s Pete McLeod was a newcomer with only four races under his belt. Now, eight years later, he’s in the heart of the World Championship battle with just three stops left in the season.
The “Dash on the Douro” is a classic stop, with the racetrack positioned over the river between the picturesque hillsides of Vila Nova de Gaia and Porto, home to a World Heritage Site. The beauty and challenge of the setting make it a favorite with the pilots, and the action at previous races from 2007 through 2009 drew some of the largest crowds in Red Bull Air Race history.
McLeod arrives at this sixth stop of the eight-race 2017 season with the momentum of three consecutive pole positions, as well as three podiums so far, including second place at the two most recent stops, Budapest, Hungary and Kazan, Russia. That pair of successes in July put him in fourth place overall, with only two points separating him from American Kirby Chambliss at the top of the leaderboard.
The Canadian’s consistency across the Budapest and Kazan races was also a strong demonstration of his versatility, as the locations had distinctly different styles of racetracks. Porto will be more similar to Budapest – a tight, relatively straight track, where perfect execution of the vertical turns will be critical.
In fact, in the last two months McLeod has been going vertical quite a lot – and not only at races.
“I’ve been very busy flying air shows as it’s that time of year in Canada, and I’ve been on the road constantly since the race in Budapest at the beginning of July. This is the time of year that conditioning and strength to deal with the schedule is key – it’s already been a long season, and there are still two hard months to go!” says the pilot, who flies number 84.
Noting that he’s looking forward to seeing the Portuguese fans again after such a long absence, McLeod concludes, “We are working on a few small details on the plane that won’t be ready until October’s season finale in Indianapolis at the earliest, so for the next two stops I’ll be looking to continue the speed from the last couple of races.”
Pete McLeod’s Red Bull Air Race in Porto will kick off with Qualifying on Saturday, 2 September, followed by Race Day on Sunday, 3 September 2017.
About Red Bull Air Race:
Created in 2003, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship celebrated its landmark 75th race at the 2017 season opener in Abu Dhabi. 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 10G 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.