Red Bull Air Race comes to NBC Sports Group in 2017

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The Red Bull Air Race World Championship comes to the NBC Sports Group starting this weekend in Abu Dhabi. (Watch Saturday at 4:30 pm ET on NBC)

A release with further details and air times is below:

NBC Sports Group and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship have signed an exclusive multi-year U.S. media rights agreement beginning with the 2017 season, both parties announced today.

Ten years since it was officially launched, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship has become globally-renowned as the new dimension of motorsport. Using the fastest, most agile, lightweight racing planes, the best race pilots in the world hit speeds of 230 mph while enduring forces of up to 10G as they navigate a low-level slalom track marked by 25-meter-high, air-filled pylons.

The international competition spans eight races in seven different countries, including a pair of stops in the United States. The first is on April 16 in San Diego, followed by the season finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on October 15, giving race pilots Kirby Chambliss and Mike Goulian two opportunities to shine in their home nation.

NBC, NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app will combine to present coverage of all eight events during the 2017 Red Bull Air Race season, beginning with this year’s event in Abu Dhabi on February 10 and airs at 4:30 pm on Feb. 18 on NBC.

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming platforms for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs — will provide extensive live streaming coverage 2017 Red Bull Air Race World Championship, including exclusive live race and qualifying coverage.

“We’re excited to bring the fastest racing series in motorsports to viewers on NBC and NBCSN,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “Red Bull Air Race combines the elements of extreme skill, speed, and excitement, in a way that few international events are able to accomplish.”

“We are thrilled to be partnering with NBC Sports to bring the Red Bull Air Race World Championship to audiences in the U.S. This is our tenth season and with a race in San Diego and the season finale in Indianapolis, 2017 is set to be the most exciting year of racing yet,” commented Erich Wolf, General Manager of Red Bull Air Race GmbH.

Following is NBC Sports Group’s telecast and streaming schedule for the 2017 Red Bull Air Race World Championship Season:

Date Location Network** Time (ET)
Fri., February 10 Abu Dhabi – Qualifying Streaming 7 a.m.
Sat., February 11 Abu Dhabi – Race* NBCSN 9:30 p.m.
Sat., February 18 Abu Dhabi – Race* NBC 4:30 p.m.
Sat., April 15 San Diego – Qualifying Streaming 7 p.m.
Sun., April 16 San Diego – Race NBCSN 12:30 a.m.
Sat., June 3 Japan – Race NBCSN 2 a.m.
Sat., July 1 Hungary – Qualifying Streaming 10 a.m.
Sun., July 2 Hungary – Race* NBCSN Noon
Sat., July 22 Russia – Qualifying Streaming 9 a.m.
Sun., July 23 Russia – Race* NBCSN 11 p.m.
Sat., August 12 Europe 1 TBA – Qualifying Streaming 11 a.m.
Sun., August 13 Europe 1, TBA – Race* NBCSN 10:30 p.m.
Sat., September 2 Europe 2, TBA – Qualifying Streaming 11 a.m.
Mon., September 4 Europe 2, TBA – Race* NBCSN 7 p.m.
Sun., September 10 Europe 2, TBA – Race* NBC 3 p.m.
Sat., October 14 Indianapolis – Qualifying Streaming 4 p.m.
Sun., October 15 Indianapolis – Race NBCSN 2 p.m.
Mon., October 16 Indianapolis – Race* NBCSN 1:30 p.m.

*denotes same-day delay/encore presentation
**all races streamed on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app

Michael Andretti looking forward to new Australian Supercars venture

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If it seems like Michael Andretti is out to conquer the world, he is – kind of.

The former IndyCar star turned prolific team owner has won three of the last four Indianapolis 500s and five overall, second only to Roger Penske’s 16 Indy 500 triumphs.

Along the way, in addition to expanding his own IndyCar and Indy Lights operation, the son of Mario Andretti and the primary shareholder of Andretti Autosport has also branched out into Global RallyCross and Formula E racing in recent years.

And now, Andretti has further expanded his brand internationally, following Penske to the world down under — as in the world of Australian V8 Supercars.

Andretti has teamed with Supercars team owner Ryan Walkinshaw, along with veteran motorsports marketer and executive director of McLaren Technology Group and United Autosports owner and chairman, Zak Brown.

Together, the three have formed Walkinshaw Andretti United, based in suburban Melbourne, Australia. The new team kicks off the new season with the Adelaide 500 from March 1-4.

“It’s just extending our brand and putting it out there,” Andretti told NBC Sports. “The Supercars are such a great series.

“It all started with Zach Brown calling me and said ‘You have to talk to Ryan Walkinshaw. He’s got something interesting to talk to you about.’

“We talked and literally in like a half-hour, we said, ‘Let’s figure out how we’re going to make this work.’ And then Zack was like, ‘Hey, what about me?’ And then Zack came in as a partner and it’s cool now that we have the Walkinshaw Andretti United team.

“I’m really excited about that program, the guys at the shop are excited about it, we’ve been doing a lot of things to try and help it because it’s such a cool series and the cars are so cool.

“I went down there to Bathurst, which was to me one of the coolest tracks in the world. I wish I could have driven it, I really do. It looks like a blast.

“It’s amazing how big that series is when you go down there. It’s one of the biggest sports in Australia. It was just a great opportunity for us to extend our portfolio.”

Admittedly, Andretti had some extra incentive to want to get involved in the Supercars world: Penske joined forces with legendary Dick Johnson Racing in September 2014.

The organization came together quickly and the rebranded DJR Team Penske went on to win the 2017 V8 Supercars championship.

“Roger was down there the last few years,” Andretti said, adding that fact as incentive to get his own organization into the series. “So it’s cool to go race head-to-head with Roger. That was also in the back of our minds.”

This is no start-up venture for Andretti. The roots of the new venture began in 1990 as the Holden Racing Team, which went on to become one of the most successful organizations in Australian V8 Supercar racing, having won the drivers’ championship six times and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s top race, the Bathurst 1000 (essentially Australia’s version of the Indy 500), seven times.

Last season, Holden Racing team morphed into Triple Eight Race Engineering and was renamed Mobil 1 HSV Racing.

And now the company has been renamed once again for the 2018 campaign under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner.

The team will be composed of two Holden ZB Commodores with drivers James Courtney and Scott Pye, as well as a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the Australian GT championship.

What’s next for Andretti’s motorsports portfolio? Right now, it’s pretty full, but you can bet running for championships from Australia (Supercars) to globally (GRC) to Indianapolis (Indy 500) to the U.S. (Verizon IndyCar Series) are at the top of this year’s list.