François Le Vot and Juan Velarde will both join the Red Bull Air Race in 2015; with both stepping up from the junior level Challenger Cup.
Le Vot, who is a former French Air Force pilot, will become the second Frenchman in the RBAR alongside Nicolas Ivanoff. Le Vot, also known as Zool, finished as champion of the Challenger Class this year, with the former Capitaine scoring eight points more than runner up Daniel Ryfa.
Le Vot also has over a decade of success in the World and European aerobatic circles, winning a European silver in 2012, helping France to win gold in the team competition, as well as the 2013 World Championship. “It’s a great honour and a great opportunity to compete against the best in the world,” said the 44-year-old.
Joining him the Master Class is Velarde, who started aerobatic flying in 1999, and has taken part in every European and World Aerobatic Championship between 2004 and 2011, helping Spain win the silver medal at the 2007 Championship. In 2010 he won the Spanish national championship. “It’s one of the greatest things that has ever happened in my life. It’s the chance of a lifetime.”
“Thanks to the knowledge and practice gained in the Challenger Cup competition, the two new pilots will start their Master Class careers with more experience than any first-year pilot before,” said Race Director Jim DiMatteo. “The overall level of the pilots’ experience and skill will be higher than ever.”
Also confirmed today was that the 12 pilots from 2014 will all return in 2015, with the competitors planes yet to be announced, although much of the 2015 field will most likely stay with their planes from last season.