The Queen’s Cup, is the oldest and most prestigious sporting trophy in the UK, dating back to 1719 and entrusted to the Royal Aero Club by the Royal Family.

In October 2023, The Queen’s Cup will be a hot air balloon race for the first time in 10 years, attracting entries from some of the most adventurous and characterful pilots and crew in the country.

We’re excited to have several sponsors and partners supporting us and the teams for this event. We will announce them all in due course.


The main sponsor for the Queen’s Cup 2023 is Audi.

The theme of this year’s event is sustainability, so in addition to sponsoring the event, Audi are providing a fleet of Audi Q8 e-trons for a selection of the competitors and they are entering the Audi eco-balloon into the competition.

Gavin Ward, Head of PR & Communications of Audi UK, says: “The Audi philosophy is to continuously push boundaries and our support for The Queen’s Cup certainly takes us to new heights. The race will showcase extraordinary skill, sustainable innovations and progress. It’s guaranteed to be a rare and thrilling spectacle”.

The Race Rules

The competition will be a distance race with a set starting location on the Saturday morning, going over the whole weekend and finishing Sunday afternoon. The specifics on the rules of how the distance will be accumulated by each pilot/team will be determined closer to the event, based on wind speed/direction.

We will announce the start location closer to the event, but it will be in the Cheltenham area.

The Queen’s Cup is open to all pilots who are members of the BBAC, however only a British citizen can be awarded the Queen’s Cup.

Balloons of any volume up to 120,000 cubic feet can be entered.

Entries will open on 1st January 2023 and close 21st September 2023. There will be a limit on the number of balloons that can compete, but we will keep entries open and entries over the limit will be put on a reserve list. We therefore advise entering as early as possible.

The entry fee will be £100 for entries up to the 31st March, from 1st April to 31st July it will be £150 and from 1st August to the closing date it will be £300.

Full rules of the competition will be available to view and can be downloaded from the BBAC Member’s site:

Entries have now closed.

Queen’s Cup 2023 Competitors

The Great British Balloon Launch

Running in conjunction with The Queen’s Cup, the BBAC is inviting all UK pilots to launch from their home area at the same time as the start of the Race, whether that be alone or together with friends.

The Great British Balloon Launch will see a cumulative mass ascent of hot air balloons representing the sport across the UK and draw attention to the start of The Queen’s Cup Balloon Race.