The 2018 Red Bull Air Race World Championship schedule was released this week, and includes a race in France for the first time ever and two races for Asia.
Once again, Abu Dhabi will host the first race in February next year, before the eight-race series crosses the world twice to finish in Asia in November.
"The 2017 title went down to the wire, keeping the world in suspense up until the final run of the final race, and now the teams are using the off-season to make their raceplanes even faster," says Erich Wolf, General Manager of Red Bull Air Race GmbH.
"The best pilots in the world just keep getting better, and the destinations that will welcome them next year are spectacular. I can't predict who will win the 2018 season, but I guarantee it'll be one to watch."
Highlighting the season will be a race in Cannes, France; the first ever for that country. Five French pilots competed in the 2017 series: Nicolas Ivanoff, Francois Le Vot and Mika Brageot in the Masteclass category and Melanie Astles and Baptiste Vignes in the Challenger category, the highest representation of any nationality in the series.
Destinations for the two Asian rounds in August and November are yet to be announced, but with the popularity of 2017 World Champion Yoshi Muroya on the rise, one round is most likely to be in Japan, and a return to Chiba is most likely. Malaysia also hosted a round of the championship in Putrajaya in 2014.
Kazan in Russia, Budapest in Hungary also return, with only one USA race scheduled, at Indianapolis. A European round is also planned, but the exact venue has not been announced.
2018 Red Bull Air Race Calendar
02-03 February: Abu Dhabi, UAE
21-22 April: Cannes, France
26-27 May: Europe, location TBA
23-24 June: Budapest, Hungary
04-05 August: Asia, location TBA
25-26 August: Kazan, Russia
6-7 October: Indianapolis, USA
November: Asia, location TBA