We’ve all heard the saying “Red Bull gives you wings.” So what does it mean when Red Bull brings its air races (with fully winged airplanes) to town? A weekend of high-flying tricks and on-the-ground shenanigans.
The Red Bull Air Race World Championship flies into town April 15-16 along the San Diego Bay. This is the second time the event has taken place in San Diego, the last being in 2009 where Nicolas Ivanoff landed with the title.
So what exactly is an air race? Planes “start” and finish at a designated air gate (a tall buoy-looking obstacle) and fly an aerial racetrack, which is made up of about seven obstacles that sit on the bay, which the pilots must maneuver their planes around multiple times (one at a time, of course). During the flight, the plane hits a High G Turn and a Max sustained G Force. This is a high speed, low altitude sport. Not convinced? Check out this video from the Abu Dhabi 2017 races.
With the aerial racetrack sitting right on the bay, there will be plenty of viewing places to watch from. Here’s a rundown of places to plant yourself for maximum viewing pleasure.
Embarcadero Marina Park North & South
This is where the aerial racetrack will be positioned on the bay, and is designated as the official hospitality area of the event. If you want to enjoy a front-row seat, it’ll cost you. General admission adult tickets start at $20 for a single day and packages rocket up to $375 for a hospitality weekend pass. For more information or to buy tickets, go to redbullairrace.com.
Coronado Ferry Landing and Centennial Park
Located directly across the bay from the races, make sure to position yourself in a good spot early. This area is sure to fill up quick as it probably holds the best free vantage point.
When the races were here in 2009, spectators lined the sidewalk and sea walls between Harbor House and Edgewater Grill. Grab a Wetzel’s Pretzels, enjoy some flybys and do some shopping when the mood strikes.
Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
For those 21+, head to the hotel’s fourth floor Coronado Terrace where, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., there will be a Watch Party that promises panoramic views of the air race. Tickets to this exclusive VIP party are $65 and include premiere viewing space, live music, games and a Baja-inspired barbecue spread. Tickets are available on eventbrite.com.
San Diego Convention Center
Climb up the 100 steps from downtown to the top of the Convention Center and enjoy sprawling views of the bay from multiple vantage points along the backside of the venue.