Australia’s Matt Hall isn’t afraid to say that he’s chasing an elusive maiden Red Bull Air Race World Championship title in 2018, having come within a whisker of being crowned the champ in 2015, followed by another runner-up finish in 2016.
The Aussie returns to the world’s fastest motorsport series, which begins in Abu Dhabi, UAE this Friday and Saturday, following a 2017 season spent building a new team around him, and coming to grips with a brand new aircraft.
While wholesale changes were the story of last year, just days out from soaring into the sky for this year’s title race, Hall is adamant that he is ready to be among the contenders once again.
“We’re back in Abu Dhabi for the season opener, and it’s always good to be here,” the former RAAF pilot said.
“For our team, 2017 was spent as a learning year and we got the plane to a place where we wanted it to be. For this season we think we have got it going even better.
“This year we are back to be competitive, there’s no point being in it if you’re not trying to win it. We’re definitely trying to win the championship. I would like to think that we are one of the contenders, so we’re just going to do what we can do, and do our best at each race.”
A refreshed sense of confidence isn’t the only highlight for Hall’s impending season; he will also be racing in new colours. For 2018 Hall welcomes new sponsor ‘Organics by Red Bull’ to the team, flush with an attention grabbing livery that would pass as professional artwork if it were on canvas.
Joining Organics by Red Bull is Australian organisation ‘OzRunways’, who extend their relationship with Matt Hall Racing onto the international stage with the race team.
Although brimming with confidence just two days out from the start of competition, Hall won’t be discounting the firepower of his fellow competitors. In total 14 of the world’s best pilots will be vying for the crown, which will be decided in eight races across the globe.
“You always arrive at round one in Abu Dhabi not knowing what work your competitors have done in the off-season. You try and have a look and suss out where they’re at, but inevitably you need to focus on yourself,” Hall emphasised.
“Our team has put a significant amount of effort into our off-season to improve our power and handling. We think it’s gone in the right direction.”
The first round of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship begins in Abu Dhabi, UAE on Friday with qualifying at 11pm AEDT. Saturday will see race day swing into action with the cut-throat ‘Round of 14’ knockout from 9pm AEDT.