Czech pilot Martin Šonka announces Red Bull partnership - © 2016 Red Bull Media House GmbH - all rights reserved.

Czech pilot Martin Šonka announces Red Bull partnership – © 2016 Red Bull Media House GmbH – all rights reserved.

With days to go before Race Week begins at the Red Bull Air Race season opener in Abu Dhabi, Czech pilot Martin Šonka has announced a new partnership with Red Bull for the 2016 air racing season. That backing, plus a new cutting-edge raceplane, could boost Team Šonka’s momentum into hyperdrive.

After a breakthrough 2015 season where he finished in a strong fourth place, Czech pilot Martin Šonka is ready to push for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship podium this season, and he’s got a new team – Red Bull – supporting the effort. When Šonka takes to the skies in Abu Dhabi, UAE for the season opener on March 11-12, his raceplane will be sporting the iconic Red Bull colors. And underneath that fresh paint will be a new aircraft with a dream package of modifications.

“It’s a generally well-known fact that only top athletes and teams worldwide have the privilege of Red Bull partnership, so it’s really a big honor and a desired reward for our hard work in past years,“ said Šonka, a 37-year-old who has been competing in the ultimate motorsport series in the sky since 2010. “It’s also a big commitment as our ambitions and targets are only the highest possible now.“

Right from the end of last season, a new raceplane was one of Šonka’s strategies for hitting those targets. After clinching two podiums and four Final Four finishes in 2015, Team Šonka acquired the stunning new Edge 540 V3 of Red Bull Air Race pioneer Peter Besenyei, who had flown it in only five races before announcing his retirement in October. Team Besenyei had already customized the stunning raceplane with a list of innovative modifications, and Team Šonka has been busy refining it even further, so far focusing on reducing its weight and making adjustments to the cooling system, with much data collection and analysis still to come.

Some of that analysis will happen in Abu Dhabi, where the decorated former Czech Air Force pilot will be keen to claim his first appearance on a season-opening podium.

“We’re really looking forward to Abu Dhabi – all the teams did their best during winter break to be stronger and faster, so it will be a real challenge and I think fans can expect an exciting season,“ Šonka stated. “It’s going to be a completely new chapter of air racing for me and for my team, and we believe it will be a successful one.”

Experience the excitement: Tickets for most races of the 2016 Red Bull Air Race World Championship – including Abu Dhabi – are on sale now. For more information on tickets and all the latest, visit www.redbullairrace.com