New format enhances wingsuit race

Updated: 2014-07-31 07:18

By China Daily (China Daily)

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The Red Bull World Wingsuit League Grand Prix, which was launched in China in 2012, will see some changes in the 2014 edition from Oct 14-19, making the aerial competition more spectacular and thrilling.

This year's race will again be held in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province; the mountain range that inspired the 'Floating Mountains of Pandora' in the blockbuster US film Avatar.

The top 10 finishers from the preliminary round will join last year's best six wingsuit pilots in a series of one-on-one showdowns in the final round.

In the past two editions, the pilots raced one by one and individual times determined the winner.

Unlike last year's round course, with a distance ranging from 800 meters to 1km, this year's edition will have a straight distance of about 1.7 to 2km, meaning the athletes jump from a cliff and fly directly to a point at its base.

It will take the pilots between 40-50 sec to complete the course, which has a sheer drop of 600m.

The fastest speeds reached will be about 200 kph.

WWL president Iiro Seppanen is looking forward to showcasing the new format.

"Two pilots racing together will make it more spectacular. The longer and straighter distance will provide a great challenge to all of the athletes," said Seppanen.

"It requires a high level of skill to control a wingsuit.".

He also revealed one of the world's best wingsuit pilots, Jeb Corliss, will challenge the Great Wall next year.

Corliss, also one of the WWL's founders, will jump from a helicopter and fly toward a circle set on the top of a beacon tower of the Great Wall in the Simatai section in Beijing.

The distance will be about 600m while the target area will measure only 1.8m in width and 1.2m in height.

(China Daily 07/31/2014 page23)