Swiss luxury watchmaker and aviation chronograph specialist, Breitling has announced that French pilot, Mika Brageot, will be making his Master Class debut in Abu Dhabi at the season opener of the 2017 Red Bull Air Race World Championship (10-11 February).
The Abu Dhabi race, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, will see Brageot and his ‘Skyracer’ aircraft navigate a low-level aerial racetrack, made up of air-filled pylons, at speeds reaching 230 mph while withstanding forces of up to 10Gs. Heading up the Breitling Racing Team for 2017, Brageot takes over from British ace Nigel Lamb, who competed under the Breitling banner for eight seasons and won the World Championship in 2014, before hanging up his racing gloves at the end of the 2016 season.
Born in 1987, Brageot was the youngest pilot to have joined the French Aerobatics team where he swiftly climbed up the ranks of aeronautical competition at national, European and international levels. In 2016, he was selected to inaugurate a new mentoring program as Lamb’s ‘protégé’ which enabled him to become acquainted with the high-speed, low-altitude competition. Trained by the best, the 2017 series will see Brageot taking the controls of Lamb’s high performance airplane the MXS-R.
Commenting on his debut, Mika Brageot said: “I am hoping to make a good impression in Abu Dhabi, which is very much one of the team’s favourite venues. We are taking the positive aspects from the 2016 mentoring year by keeping not only the same ground team but also the same aircraft. I think we’ve built something much stronger than any of us could have anticipated and I am looking forward to putting everything I’ve learnt into action.”
To mark his 2017 debut, the MXS-R has been re-named ‘Skyracer’ and completely repainted with an original, daring, military-inspired design that creates as much of a spectacle in the air as on the ground. It flaunts a style that is a blend of ‘vintage’ and ‘hard-worn’ aspects, with the fuselage and wings in rust colour as if the plane – albeit in the vanguard of technology –requires some serious restoration. Ensuring optimum visibility in every position, the Breitling brand signature runs across the plane from one wing to the other while a large winged logo sits under the wings of the aircraft, highly visible to the fans watching in Abu Dhabi.