As the pilots prepare for this weekend's racing we talk to the Red Bull Air Race's track analyst who offers his opinion on this tricky circuit in Japan.
This is the third year the pilots will race above Makuhari Beach and it has become to be known as a sprint circuit for its long thin track with two high-G turns.
The 2017 track has 13 gates and every one is passed twice, apart from Gate 7, which is the second high-G turn. There is only one single-pylon gate before the first Vertical Turn Manoeuvre. As there is no chicane before the first VTM, the raceplane will not have scrubbed off much speed before entering the high-G turn. Therefore, there is a very high risk of over-G at Gate 3. "The pilots have two options when it comes to passing Gate 3," said Red Bull Air Race's track analyst. "Option one is for the pilot to head straight towards Gate 3. This is very risky and tricky (especially after the VTM), as the angle creates very little space between the pylons for the pilot to fly through, but the quicker option. For the second option the pilot could fly a set up turn before Gate 3. This will reduce the risk of a pylon hit, but it is a slower option," he added.
Gate 7, the other high-G turn, will also provide a choice for the pilots to make. "Option one is the slower option. The pilot will fly straight towards Gate 7, which offers a suboptimal angle for starting the flat turn after the gate and it is also a tighter angle so there is a greater risk of a pylon hit," said our analyst. "The second choice is the quicker option. The pilots will fly a set up turn before the gate, not only will this be quicker, but it will give them the perfect angle for the flat turn."
Chiba is unique as the pilots fly a different race line in the track. Here the sequence of the gates changes during the course. When Gate 4 is passed the first time, the pilots have to fly straight towards the chicane. When the gate is passed again, the pilots have to fly towards the finish gate with a right turn. The pilots need to keep a sharp mind at this point. "When the pilots pass through the chicane for the second time they will see Gate 4/12 right in front of them, but they have to fly a tight left turn to hit Gate 10 This situation requires perfect mental training," explained the race analyst.
To see the Master Class pilots fly the Chiba track n 03-04 June, get your tickets HERE!