The Red Bull Air Race World Championships are set to take to the skies once again next year, and will include a number of safety improvements.

The seven races – the first of which takes place in February 2014 – will be staged in six countries and three continents.

According to Red Bull, technical improvements will include standard engines and propellers for all pilots, raising the height of the pylons that the pilots pass through from 20 to 25 meters, and changing to the nylon pylon material to make them easier to burst apart if they are clipped by aircraft. The organisers have also tightened the rules, for example to prevent any pilots from exceeding the set limits.

Additionally, a new ‘Challengers Cup’ competition has been created to serve as a stepping-stone competition, giving new pilots the chance to gain experience of racing on some of the tracks. A number of training camps will also take place throughout the season.

Reigning champion Paul Bonhomme of Britain, who won the last two world championships in 2009 and 2010, will be looking for an unprecedented third straight title in 2014. He will be competing against 2008 champion Hannes Arch of Austria and American Kirby Chambliss, who won the world title in 2004 and 2006. The other pilots in the field include Nigel Lamb (GBR), Matt Hall (AUS), Peter Besenyei (HUN), Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA), Michael Goulian (USA), Matthias Dolderer (GER), Yoshi Muroya (JPN), Pete McLeod (CAN) and Martin Sonka (CZE).

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