Tim Cone, EAA 374465, won the Gold Final of the Air Race 1 World Cup 2017 on Sunday. Tim followed up posting the fastest time in the World Cup semifinals by winning the event itself.
“I’m unbelievably happy,” Tim said. “I’m in love with Thailand and in love with the guys that I race with — some of the best pilots in the world.”
Managing director of Air Race 1 Jeff Zaltman praised Tim and the rest of the pilots who took part in the event, calling it “spectacular.”
“We knew we were going to get good racing because all the best pilots were here,” Jeff said. “Tim did a fantastic job, he deserved the win.”
Tim flew his Cassutt IIIM, named What Airplane Honey, to victory and plans to attend next year to defend his title after making some modifications in the interim.
The 2017 Air Race 1 World Cup was held at the U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield in Thailand, and offered an environment Tim said was unique.
“Racing in Thailand is amazing,” he said. “The pure exoticness of it, it’s not like any place I’ve ever been.”
Tim raced in the Reno Air Races as well this year, taking fifth place. He had to rush to make it in time, as he had his Cassutt down to the steel tubing just a few months before Reno began, although he said the plane was “utterly dependable” there.
After Reno, Tim shipped What Airplane Honey to Thailand aboard a freighter before following it there in November.
“It would be my most-visited country if it wasn’t so far away,” Tim said. “The scenic beauty is amazing. The people there and the culture is so respectful. It was just so friendly.”
Even if the flight from Reno to Thailand wasn’t so long, Tim’s Cassutt is built for one thing and one thing only: to race. He carries just five and a quarter gallons of gas, and Tim said he doesn’t fly it outside of racing and racing preparation.
“That’s the thing about Formula One, they’re the only ones [that] are built to do nothing but one thing,” he said. “They do nothing but Formula One race.”
Formula One Air Racing is drastically different from most flying, but Tim credited building and flying his RV-8 with giving him the skills he needed to succeed as he has.
“All the skills are skills I picked up while building my Van’s RV-8,” he said. “Flying the RV-8 as well as building it is what gave me the confidence to go after the more extreme sport of air racing than I had been participating in.”
Tim said EAA makes it possible for him and so many other racers to be able to do the amazing things that they so enjoy.
“We get to do stuff, because of EAA, that the rest of the world finds mindboggling,” Tim said. “These airplanes get put together in garages then get to go fly, and in the case of Formula One get to go race. We owe that all to EAA.”