Sonoma’s Steve Temple will go wing-to-wing with the best air racing pilots in the world next week when he competes in the fastest motorsport on the planet.

Temple, an Ohio native who now lives in Sonoma, will be competing at the Air Race 1 World Cup Presented by Chang at Thailand’s U-Tapao Naval Airbase from Nov. 17-19.

The 52-year-old will compete against 17 other highly-skilled race pilots at the world’s premier airborne series, known as the Formula One of air racing.

Hosted by the Sports Authority of Thailand, part of the Ministry of Tourism and Sport, the world’s purest air race challenges pilots in a demanding test of skill. Each race sees up to eight pilots go head-to-head on a tight oval circuit at speeds of more than 280 miles per hour 30 feet above the ground to be the first nose across the finish line.

Temple, who works for a major airline, is one of the most experienced air racers around will be representing the Quadnickel team in a Cassutt IIIM aircraft. Temple could fly before he could even drive a car and has enjoyed a broad and varied career in aviation as a pilot and also in important operational roles, amassing 15,000 flight hours in an impressive array of aircraft types.

“I’m really looking forward to lining up against the 17 other pilots competing at the Air Race 1 World Cup Presented by Chang in Thailand,” he said. “With the truly world-class calibre of pilots going head-to-head for the title, it promises to be an exhilarating competition in a spectacular location.”

To ensure a fair competition between pilots, each plane must be built to a specific formula that covers most aspects of the race plane’s characteristics, including wing area, weight and engine size.

Jeff Zaltman, CEO of Air Race 1, said, “Including Steve, we’ve signed a very strong and diverse pool of race pilots for this year’s World Cup. Not many people have the skill or expertise to race an airplane, so there aren’t many of these pilots around. But we’ll see the best of the best in Thailand. The title is truly up for grabs. We are really looking forward to returning to Asia after a successful trial race in 2016.”

The class of airplanes incorporate the most modern materials and cutting-edge technology for those all-important marginal gains.

As in all motorsport, an element of success is down to the designers, engineering teams and ground crew support in the pits. Many of the pilots and teams design and build their own race plane to capitalize on unique innovations.

Such care is taken with the airplanes that each one is given its own unique moniker. This year’s roster includes the colorfully named Outlaw, to be raced by 2016 Rookie of the Year Scott Holmes, and Philip Goforth’s Knotty Girl.

The Air Race 1 World Cup Presented by Chang will be shown live in Thailand, and later screened in over 100 countries across Europe, Asia and the USA. For more information visit airrace1.com.

The race planes, referred to in the sport as formula one airplanes, are the only class of airplane built specifically for racing – and for racing fast.