Las Cruces, New Mexico Air Race Announced


Moving from strength to strength, the Sport Air Racing Council just announced a new air race in Las Cruces, New Mexico on October 21, 2023.

As expected, this race is strictly for Sport class aircraft running a maximum of 325 mph due to insurance requirements. Furthermore, the single-day race is being held in conjunction with an airshow, so there should be broad spectator appeal. Because this speed range is a great fit for the many Glasair and Lancair racers already populating Sport’s Silver division at Reno, the Las Cruces fans can expect to good field of these same airplanes.

Innovative Wings, a Canadian company, is helping sponsor the new Las Cruces air race next month.

Additionally, a few of Sport’s fastest movers are likely to show at Las Cruces for two reasons. First, they are truly interested in supporting air racing in front of a new crowd. Perhaps more selfishly, the limited speed means reduced manifold pressure will work. Such moderate power settings are what these racers are forecasting as necessary to keep their highly stressed engines viable for something like a three-race series, which the Sport racers want to eventually establish. Thus, the Las Cruces race will provide good real-world experience for that possible future series.

Las Cruces itself is an appealing venue for a race, too. The airport is a large, three-runway, uncontrolled field with ample ramp space and little conflicting traffic. The surrounding country is largely native land devoid of human developments and local authorities are eager to grow their airshow. At 4,500 ft elevation, KLRU airport is only 500 ft lower elevation than Reno, so engine tuning and aircraft handling should be familiar to racers. Furthermore, New Mexico is aviation and space oriented with several new spaceports and aerospace testing taking advantage of the state’s uncrowded landscape. Finally, good variety of airline schedules are available in El Paso, Texas, which is an easy 50 minute drive from Las Cruces.

This new air race underlines the Sport Air Racing Council’s (“SARC”) dedication to furthering air racing. Having gained FAA accreditation in August with a demonstration race in Madras, Oregon, then providing the deepest field of up to 400+ mph racers this month at Reno, and now the Las Cruces race a month later, SARC is organized and on the move.

Below is the complete SARC press release.

September 15, 2023

RE: Sport Class “Next Generation Air Racing” Added to Las Cruces NM Air & Space Expo October 21, 2023

The City of Las Cruces and its growing airport are proud to host the Air & Space Expo Saturday October 21, 2023 for its citizens and all aviation enthusiasts. This year will include a full afternoon of thrilling airshow acts, exhibits, static displays, military tributes and now a demonstration of the world’s fastest motorsport – – pylon air racing. The Las Cruces Airport will be the venue and our City will roll out the hospitality and aviation experiences for this annual event. The Sport Air Racing Council (“SARC”), a subsidiary of Sport Class Air Racing Association (“Sport Class”), recently earned FAA accreditation as an Air Race Organization and they will bring structured programs, safety protocols and experienced air race pilots – all honed over the past 25 years of Sport Class air racing experience.

Las Cruces Mayor, Ken Miyagishima, said “We invite families, friends and international guests to southern New Mexico for our October aviation event that has big plans for the future. We are excited to bring Sport Class Air Racing to our event and to treat airshow and air race fans to ‘NASCAR in the sky’, with high-performance, kit- built airplanes safely flying around the pylons at speeds up to 325 mph.” “We support entertaining/exciting our youth and all attendees about local and State aerospace opportunities that flow from innovation, skilled pilots, and the applied aeronautics of air racing” he added.

New Mexico State Senator, Bill Soules, added “Our State has a standing policy commitment to the AeroSpace sector and some of the world leaders in civilian space travel/business are based here. We have airport, space port and infrastructure investments that align with education programs, workforce development and economic development strategies needed to foster growth aviation and space businesses. Our plan is to grow exciting events like the Las Cruces Air and Space Expo to showcase current and future aerospace opportunities and to encourage tourism to our Land of Enchantment. As part of the plan, are pleased to support air racing at our well-established Las Cruces airport with a vision that a world-class event may be developed over time.”

SARC President Bill Beaton said “We are pleased to be recognized by the FAA as an accredited Air Race Organization, which allows us to conduct single-class air racing event on an approved course at Las Cruces Airport”. He added, “it has been refreshing to work with enthusiastic community leaders that envision the sport of air racing as part of their aerospace context and for sharing a well-suited airport with an existing airshow/expo already planned. The demonstration air race will provide a proof of concept for future possibilities”.

Come see Sport Class and other class racers pushing 400 mph and more, in what the Reno Air Race Association and Race Fans call “The World’s Fastest Motor Sport”, September 13-17, 2023 at the Reno National Championship Air Races, held at Reno Stead Airport.
For more information, to participate or to be a sponsor contact:

Bill Beaton
Sport Air Racing Council
Ph. 623-275-0413
[email protected]

Andy Hume
Las Cruces International Airport
Ph. 575-496-6491
[email protected]

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Tom Wilson
Pumping avgas and waxing flight school airplanes got Tom into general aviation in 1973, but the lure of racing cars and motorcycles sent him down a motor journalism career heavy on engines and racing. Today he still writes for peanuts and flies for fun.


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