Weight, weight, weight, power, power, power. That’s what the #99 Team has been up to this winter. It’s not a secret that our plane was still one of the heaviest on the race circuit and that just had to change. So for the last month or so, we have been trying to get rid of every last extra ounce in the plane to bring it down to the minimum race weight. We are very close to reaching that goal, and can’t wait to try out our lightweight & powerful plane.
Last year, we started out with a heavy plane and no horsepower and finally ended up with a heavy plane and a lot of Horsepower. With a better engine and even lighter weight, we should be even more competitive than at the end of last season. Speaking of horsepower, Lycoming and their Thunderbolt engine program, in coordination with Tim Hess, have been working on a very powerful engine for next year. We think that we have found some areas that can give us big gains that perhaps some of the other teams have not explored yet. However, we’ll know when we lay it down in Abu Dhabi in March.
Personally I have been working hard to get myself into peak physical condition for the races. While it might not be as obvious as playing a running or skating sport, air racing places an exceedingly physical demand on the body. During a race, the pilots are pulling up to 12G’s. In order for the body to be able to handle this kind of exertion you need to make sure that you are physically fit and very strong as well.
As the countdown to the first 2010 Red Bull Air Race World Championship race continues, Team #99 will keep you up to date on how and what we are doing to get ourselves and the race plane ready. Keep an eye out for more updates!