Red Bull Hangar 7 at the Salzburg Airport

DSC_0084Most Australian Formula One fans probably share my distaste for the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team. It doesn’t seem to be run in an exactly sporting manner, and the treatment given to Webber in his final seasons in the sport leaves a lot to be desired. But… put all that aside for one moment. There’s a whole lot more to Red Bull than Formula One, and it is all on free display in the excellent Hangar-7 complex at Austria’s Salzburg Airport.

DSC_0236The personal project of energy drink tzar and aviation/motorsport enthusiast Dietrich Mateschitz, the Austrian genius who made it big by marketing a little known Thai energy drink to the world, Hangar-7 houses his collection of aircraft (called The Flying Bulls) and an assortment of Red Bull sponsored racing cars and bikes.

DSC_0056But just leaving it at that would be selling it short, as Hangar-7 is much more. In addition to the cars and the planes and the bikes it is full of art and sculpture, and functions also as an entertainment space, concert hall and gallery.

DSC_0093There is a Michelin star restaurant, Ikarus, and two cafes…

DSC_0219… one of which is outdoors and affords excellent views of the airport runway.

DSC_0204Unsurprisingly they serve plenty of Red Bull, but for what it’s worth their mango iced tea is where it’s at.

DSC_0112The car collection centers around the various Red Bull and Toro Rosso Formula One machines, ranging from last year’s RB8 all the way back to the first Red Bull chassis.

DSC_0162The Red Bull X2010 Prototype even sat quietly in a corner. This car was designed by Adrian Newey in collaboration with the producers of Playstation game Gran Turismo 5 and answers a question we’ve all asked ourselves at some point – what would a Formula One car look like if there were no rules? Well, it would look a little like this.

DSC_0173Mateschitz also owns an American Nascar team, and there is an example of one of his Toyota Camry’s on the floor. Unfortunately it was just far enough away to prevent a closer look.

DSC_0176There are Red Bull sponsored bikes that raced in MotoGP…

DSC_0099… and Cyril Despres’ 2013 Dakar rally winning KTM. Hangar-7 really did highlight just how big Red Bull’s involvement with motorsport really is, although unfortunately there were none of their sponsored WRC cars on display.

DSC_0089The only non Red Bull sponsored vehicle is this New York chequered cab.

DSC_0012However, the most fascinating exhibits aren’t the cars, rather the machines built to conquer the skies.

DSC_0077Taking center stage is the Douglas DC-6B which dwarfs everything beneath it, including all other planes.

DSC_0137For the aviation enthusiasts amongst you, of which I know there are a few, the Flying Bulls collection consists of the DC-6B, BO105 CB, EC135, Bell Cobra TAH-1F, North American B25J Mitchell, Lockheed P38-L, Bell 47 G-3B-1, Pilatus Porter PC6, Alpha Jet, PT-17 Stearman, Cessna CE208 Amphibian Caravan, Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair and Fairchild PT-19. Unfortunately I don’t know anywhere near enough about aircraft to understand what most of those model numbers mean, but I assume it’s a pretty impressive collection.

DSC_0118Most of that collection is housed off-limits across the tarmac in an identically sized and designed hangar, providing a nice symmetry. I gather over there though that the restaurants and lounges and exhibition spaces are swapped for proper workshops and is staffed with engineers to keep these beauties in the air.

DSC_0106The star attraction during Any Given Reason’s visit was a special exhibition dedicated to Felix Baumgartner. First up is the suit he wore when he ‘flew’ across the English channel in 2003. Baumgartner leaped out of a plane above Dover, England, at 30,000 feet and landed 35km away near Calais, France, about 14 minutes later.

DSC_0004But the most special part was the equipment used by Baumgartner is his 14 October 2012 world record breaking parachute jump. Baumgartner jumped from this very capsule from a height of 127,852 feet, breaking the world records for highest parachute jump, highest manned balloon flight (at the same height) and fastest speed of free fall (843.6mph/1,357.64km/h). He also became the first human to break the sound barrier outside of a vehicle.

DSC_0180Also on display was the space suit he wore while ascending in the capsule.

DSC_0182It was a special experience to see the marks and scrapes on the suit, as well as the high quality and attention to detail. Incredible.

DSC_0184There’s definitely a parallel to be drawn between the energy drink and cigarette industries. Both use exceptional marketing strategies to sell products of questionable health side effects to impressionable audiences with astronomical profit margins, and both pump obscene amounts of money into the sponsorship of sporting events, teams and endeavors.

DSC_0149Will energy drinks such as Red Bull one day be proven as a cause of cancer and a whole range of medical issues we haven’t even thought of yet? Probably. And in 50 years time, will energy drink sponsorship also be banned from our sport? Who knows.

DSC_0126But for the time being just be aware that next time you go and pay $5 for a 250ml can of energy drink, you’re really just making a donation to fund a whole lot of awesome things like world record breaking sub atmospheric space flight, art galleries, incredible public spaces, huge flying aeroplane collections and Formula One, WRC, Sports Car, MotoGP, Nascar, Dakar, Drifting and Formula SAE teams. Given how rare big dollar sponsorship is these days and how little public funding is available to push the boundaries in areas like aviation and space flight, it all seems pretty reasonable to me.

DSC_0240Words and photos by Andrew Coles

# # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #

About the author


  1. Tom Gilbert August 27, 2013 Reply

    Excellent article Andrew

Leave a Reply