Air Racing: The Fastest Sport You Never Heard Of

Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of

Air racing is where powerful small planes compete on a looped path in the air, reaching speeds between 200-500 mph, according to This thrilling sport is just as fast as NASCAR, IndyCars and Formula One, but with the added vertical dimension, the action amps up.

Air racing is the fastest sport in the world, besides, it isn’t new. It’s been going on since France hosted the first air race in 1909. In the United States, races started a year later and gained momentum in the 1920s, drawing pilots, thrill seekers and aviation enthusiasts, according to

The first air race was held on May 23, 1909 at the Prix de Lagatinerie, in the Port-Aviation airport south of Paris. Four pilots entered the race, but no one finished it, according to This was not unexpected as the rules specified that whoever travelled furthest would be the winner if no one completed the race.

Three years ago, a deadly plane crash at the Reno National Championship Air Races raised new safety questions about the sport. Now, insiders say these events are safer and poised for growth stated

It’s “very analogous to dog fighting,” says race director Jimmy DiMatteo, referring to the deadly midair combat ballet between two fighter planes. “It’s the exact same skill set.”