In 2003, a new sports category was created by the World Air Sports Federation. For a sport to create a new category rather than being assigned to an existing one was unprecedented. Air Racing officially became a world championship sport two years later and, in 2017, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship celebrated both its 75th race and the arrival of a new Official Timekeeper: Hamilton.
With death-defying maneuvers performed as the pilots take around one minute to complete a six kilometer (3.7 mile) course, the Air Race is all about speed and precision. This should not be mistaken for an aerobatic display or an air show. It’s a race and one that all 14 pilots in the category want to win in hopes of being crowned Red Bull Air Race World Champion.
Split second timing is also essential as the pilots reach speeds of up to 370 km/h (230 mph) in their agile, lightweight planes, experiencing up to 10G of force as they negotiate a low-level slalom track marked by 25m (82ft) high air filled pylons.
As well as a sight to behold, it’s not for the faint hearted. Air racing and aerobatics are worlds that Hamilton knows well. Since 2005, Hamilton has had a team in the Air Race and our brand ambassador, Nicolas Ivanoff, is the Team Hamilton pilot.
In 2017, Hamilton took the natural next step and became the Official Timekeeper of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. It’s a move that keeps us close to the action and close to the pilots whose feedback and input we rely upon and use to refine and perfect our pilots’ watches.
With eight races in an average season (the 2018 venues are Abu Dhabi, Cannes, Chiba (Japan), Budapest, Kazan (Russia), Wiener Neustadt (Austria), Indianapolis (USA) and a last location to be revealed) the equipment travels a total of approximately 56,000 km (35,000 miles) on its official timekeeping mission.
Air racing is not Hamilton’s first foray into the world of aviation, it’s just the latest and we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to serve the flying community.
In the early days of aviation, Hamilton supported pioneering pilots, then helped keep the U.S. Airmail service on time, before becoming the official watch of commercial airlines in the U.S. in the 1930s. Since then, Hamilton has worked with numerous teams and squadrons from all over the world from military air display teams to civilian search and rescue teams. Hamilton continues to innovate in the world of aviation, recently introducing the Khaki X-Wind range that includes the first drift angle calculator to ever appear on a watch.
The Red Bull Air Race World Championship is one of the most exciting, high-adrenalin sports you can experience and it’s fitting that Hamilton is the Official Timekeeper.