Starting in October 2006, the first Rocket Races will take place in New Mexico when 4 X-Racer rocket planes will compete. In 2007, a full group of 10 planes will take part in the competition.
Pilots will follow "virtual racetracks" projected in their heads-up displays, each plane having its own "lane" to avoid collisions.
The February 2006 issue of Popular Science magazine's cover story is devoted to this new type of racing event. Also, here are some links to websites with more information for those interested:
1- Rocket Racing League...lots of images/videos
2- Popular Science...article from october 2005
3- Space.com...article from October 2005
The Rocket Racing League site, of course, is the best source of info. on the upcoming competitions.
The engines will emit bright 20-foot plumes of flame, making them easily visible to spectators watching from the ground a mile below (Image: Rocket Racing League)
The only question I have is...will the pit crew have to wear jet packs to service their plane?