UAE could host world’s first flying car race 5m above ground level

Priced at Dh7.34 million, the vehicle has a maximum speed of 250 kilometres per hour


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Tue 14 Nov 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 14 Nov 2023, 11:34 PM

As the UAE gears up to host the world’s largest autonomous car racing in April 2024, residents and racing car aficionados could also get to watch the world’s first flying car race – not in the too-distance.

Christian Pineau, chief executive of the first hydrogen-powered flying racing car producer Maca Flight, told Khaleej Times on Monday that the goal is to create a real flying racing car championship and the UAE is one of the top potential candidates to host flying car races.

The French company, which is operating independently after it was spun off from the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, unveiled the flying racing car earlier this year at CES 2023.

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The flying racing car, set to be priced at $2 million (Dh7.34 million), has a maximum speed of 250 kilometres per hour and zero CO2 emission. The single-seater car will fly just 4-5 metres above the ground level during the racing champion, allowing spectators a good view to watch and enjoy the race.

In the first race, Pineau expects that there will be between 8 and 10 participants.

During the Gitex Technology exhibition in Dubai last month, it was revealed that Abu Dhabi will host the racing of autonomous vehicles for the first time on April 28, 2024, with around 10 institutions taking part in the competition. This will be the world’s largest racing of autonomous cars where instead of racing drivers, coders will compete on the Formula 1 racing track of the Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi.

The French company Maca Flight has partnered with Red Bull, which is involved in many extreme sports, to take the project forward.

“If everything goes fine, then we should be able to put together a flying racing car championship by the end of 2025. The first race might be here in Dubai or the UAE. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain have also shown interest in the project,” said Pineau.


He said presales of the first hydrogen-powered flying racing car would start in a couple of months from now once they finish the first full-scale demonstrator which would be about a couple of months.

Maca Flight will also train people who buy the flying race car.

“We will have a race track for them where they can test their own vehicles if they want to. We want them to be a little bit of helicopter pilots because it requires more skills. We will also have a simulator so that they can train.”

Regulatory approvals

The company is also in the process of some regulatory process approvals for the flying racing car.

“Our goal is to make sure that we don’t have problems with certifications. There are a lot of beautiful projects but they’re staying in a garage right now because of certification problems. If you fly over populated areas and transport people, that is where you have problems. In our case, we just fly in a restricted area with no people onboard except the pilot,” Pineau said on the sidelines of the Dubai Airshow 2023.

It is going to seek approvals from French regulatory authorities.

“We don’t need full certification but a permit to fly. We are pre-approved to fly and also we are pre-approved by EAA – a European certification agency,” he concluded.


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