Air Race 1 targeting ‘year of expansion’ in 2022
Jeff Zaltman: We're a real turnkey event and we're ready to go
Air Race 1 founder and CEO Jeff Zaltman has set out his vision for an expanded 2022 calendar as the international airplane racing championship gears up for what promises to be a bumper year of action.
The fastest show in the skies has won fans around the world with hugely successful events in Europe, Africa and Asia as well as the United States since the series’ inception in 2014.
And with the sporting industry now opening up again following a bruising couple of years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Air Race 1 is targeting a return to action with a focus on the North American market.
“We have expansion plans for more races in the US next year, we have a number of venues lined up as candidates and we’re working out our calendar as we speak,” said Zaltman.
“We are looking to stage a US Cup series, while we will still maintain a World Cup presence somewhere around the globe, and we are currently searching for the most appropriate venues to hold these events.
“There is tonnes of interest from venues that want to be part of the official series of races as we go into next year. Running about 10 events per year is the eventual plan for future seasons.”
Air Race 1 was initially scheduled to visit San Angelo, Texas this month but the ongoing Covid-19 situation brought about a postponement of the event and now Zaltman is focusing on a return to business as usual in 2022.
“Next year is a foundation year for our series after the global upheaval, but we’re building on top of a great legacy,” said Zaltman.
“It’s a new start, with a new plan, a new vision, and a new opportunity to entertain fans – and that is creating a sense of thrill among all our teams, partners and cities that want to be part of our family.
“We’re the only existing international airplane race in the world that has prior experience running air racing events. We have a transportable package and programme which we can move around the world. We just need the right venue, and we’re there – we set it up, produce and operate the whole show.
“We’re a real turnkey event and we’re ready to go.”
Air Race 1 is currently in talks with a number of destinations – both in the US and around the world – regarding hosting events in 2022 and beyond, while the series is considering locations and dates for a test event in order to demonstrate operations procedures and safety measures.
A significant number of teams have already expressed their interest in competing next season, and Air Race 1 will continue to provide a platform for the most talented pilots and crews in the sport to show off their skills.
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Air Race 1 at San Angelo postponed until 2022
Air Race 1 meeting at San Angelo delayed until 2022
Air Race 1 and its principal partners have today announced that the forthcoming event at San Angelo, Texas – scheduled to take place on October 30-31 – has been postponed until 2022 due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The difficult decision has been made following discussions between The Lions Club San Angelo, the San Angelo Convention & Visitors Bureau and the City of San Angelo over the viability of the event due to be held at Mathis Field, San Angelo Regional Airport on Halloween weekend.
The unprecedented circumstances created by the global pandemic over the past 18 months have delivered ongoing challenges and logistical repercussions, not least with travel restrictions, which has resulted in a significant disruption to the pre-event timeline
This combined with the upturn in positive COVID-19 infections in the region over recent months – and the subsequent concerns regarding the health and safety of everyone involved in the event – has led Air Race 1 and its partners to collaboratively defer the San Angelo meeting.
A new date for Air Race 1 at San Angelo will be announced in due course.
Jeff Zaltman, Air Race 1 CEO, said: “We are incredibly disappointed that we are unable to proceed with our plans for Air Race 1 to visit San Angelo next month.
“This decision has not been taken lightly, but the ongoing and far-reaching impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has made it impossible to deliver an event to the standard we – and our partners – are accustomed to.
“Air Race 1, The Lions Club San Angelo and the San Angelo Convention & Visitors Bureau are working together to finalise a new date for the highly-anticipated meeting.
“We would like to thank our sponsors and fans for their support at this frustrating time and hope to be able to welcome them all back to watch the fastest show in the skies very soon.”
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Keep an eye on airrace1.com and follow the series on social media for all the latest news.
Jeff Zaltman – Meet the air racing expert focusing on an electric future
The future of aviation is in green energy, and world-renowned air racing promoter Jeff Zaltman is leading the charge for a more sustainable industry with the foundation of Air Race E.
The revolutionary new championship will be the first-ever all-electric airplane racing series and sets a pathway for ongoing technological developments that will benefit the sport and the wider sector.
Zaltman is vastly experienced at getting air racing projects off the ground, founding the Aero GP racing series alongside pioneering air sports event management and media rights agency Flying Aces before establishing the internationally successful Air Race 1 championship.
And it is this expertise that marks Zaltman out from the crowd, with the 50-year-old’s track record of commercialising cutting-edge air sports putting him head and shoulders above the competition in a fertile but underdeveloped sector.
Air Race 1 has visited Spain, Tunisia, Thailand and China as well as Zaltman’s native USA, with the myriad of sponsorship and marketing opportunities presented by each event helping boost sustainable tourism and encourage long-term investment in local areas as well as pushing forward the conversation around sporting competition in aviation.
The discipline known as formula one air racing is acting as a blueprint for the latest development in Zaltman’s expansive portfolio. Air Race E will mirror the format of Air Race 1, with eight aircraft facing off at speeds of over 400kph just ten meters above the ground. Moreover, the all-electric championship is pushing boundaries competitively and commercially through a unique three-class set-up that offers the possibility for varied technological innovation.
The potential benefits to airline operators is a key touchstone in Zaltman’s plans for Air Race E, with the technical advancement generated by the cutting-edge series set to make a tangible difference in the pursuit of quieter, more efficient passenger travel.
Formerly a US Navy avionics technician, Zaltman simultaneously studied for a BA in International Relations and a BSc in Broadcast Journalism before going on to achieve an MBA at the London Business School – all the while harbouring a passion for flying.
This love of aviation saw Zaltman forgo a promising executive career at the Ford Motor Company in favour of pursuing the commercial opportunities in air racing. The Barcelona-based entrepreneur, who also has experience working for Hawker-Beechcraft and the Virgin Racing Formula E team, has subsequently become one of the only individuals to successfully and sustainably promote the sport.
I never wanted to have a career in aviation, I only flew as a hobby but the skill level I saw in air racing was awe-inspiring. I wondered why no-one knew about the sport, and why it wasn’t bigger news. There had to be a way to bring it to more people.
I wanted to make it a professional sport and my goal was to globalise it, making it consumable and understandable to people by picking formats that work and distributing it through multiple broadcast platforms.
With very little external support, Zaltman put on his first race in Slovenia in 2005 and used this successful event as a platform to catapult air racing into the mainstream consciousness. In addition to Air Race 1, which has seen competitions across four continents since its inception in 2014, Zaltman was also responsible for organising the 2009 World Aerobatic Championships at Silverstone and acted as a producer for the World Air Sports Federation (FAI) creating a popular TV highlights show – giving another indication of ground-breaking innovator’s versatile business acumen.
Zaltman’s stature in the industry has grown in correlation with air racing’s rapid expansion over the past 15 years, and the aviation visionary is now a Director of the Royal Aero Club (RAeC), Executive Director of the Formula Air Racing Association (FARA) and has recently been appointed to the Environmental Commission of the FAI while he previously served for three years as a Board Director of the International Formula One Air Racing Association (IF1).
These prestigious positions are a ringing endorsement of Zaltman’s achievements in the sector, marking him out as a world leader when it comes to running air racing events and the ideal custodian for the future of electric airspace.
Air Race E is a pioneering championship that will shift the paradigm for air racing going forward,” he said. “The inaugural series will be a landmark achievement in the history of Air Race Events, adding to our proud collection of successfully organised and promoted competitions around the world.
Our dedicated and highly-skilled team of experts has an outstanding track-record of founding and running international race meetings, and I consider Air Race Events to be without equal in the sporting sphere of aviation.