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Audi takes to the skies with The Queen’s Cup Hot Air Balloon Race


Nov 12, 2023 #Audi
  • Audi to support the race with a fleet of fully electric Q8 e-trons
  • Competing balloons will be fuelled with certified biogas
  • Audi eco-balloon will feature double insulation to limit its fuel usage

Milton Keynes, September 19, 2023 – Audi is flying to new heights with its support for this year’s Queen’s Cup Hot Air Balloon Race, which will take place from Saturday 30 September to Sunday 01 October 2023 – the first time in a decade.

The competition will see 20 of the UK’s top hot air balloon pilots take to the skies for a race of both distance and endurance, competing for The Royal Aero Club’s prestigious 300-year-old trophy. Dubbed the ‘Formula One of the skies’ and demonstrating innovation and progress, the race will include the Audi team in an eco-balloon, a first for the race, led by pilot Richard Penney.

Pilots will launch from a private location, near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, from sunrise to fly as far as they can across mainland Great Britain until dusk on both days (weather permitting). 

A huge amount of strategy will come into play. Teams with their ground crews will analyse detailed meteorological and mapping data to make key decisions, such as landing and repositioning their balloon in the best locations with the best weather conditions.  Undoubtedly, there will be many plot twists along the way. 

The theme of this year’s event is sustainability, and all balloons will be fuelled with certified biogas. Plus, the Audi eco-balloon will feature a double insulation to limit its fuel usage, reducing the need to land and refuel. 

The brand with the four rings will also be providing a fleet of Audi Q8 e-trons, fully electric SUVs to support the ground crews, as they follow their teams during the two-day challenge.

Gavin Ward, Head of PR & Communications of Audi UK, says: “The Audi philosophy is to continuously push boundaries and our support for The Queen’s Cup certainly takes us to new heights. The race will showcase extraordinary skill, sustainable innovations and progress.  It’s guaranteed to be a rare and thrilling spectacle”. 

Stephanie Hemmings, Chair of The Queen’s Cup Organising Committee, adds: “This year we are planning live tracking of the balloon teams in the air and on the ground – and regular live stream coverage from our control centre throughout The Queen’s Cup Race. It’s going to be exciting to follow progress and see strategy and pilot skill played out as we watch them navigate their way to the finish time. In 2013, the race leaders flew hundreds of miles, landing on the East Coast, so it will be intriguing on what’s possible ten years on with modern technology and greater fuel economy”.

Ultimately the hot air balloons will go where the winds take them and the margins in winning the race are in strategy, skill and some luck. And that’s the joy of competition ballooning.

By admin