Fresh Off the World Championship Podium, US Pilot Michael Goulian Launches 2019 Title Bid this Weekend

After delivering the best results of his Red Bull Air Race career in 2018, American pilot Michael Goulian will take off for his 11th World Championship season at the opener in Abu Dhabi this February 8-9. Alongside him will be the team who helped achieve milestone race wins and third place overall last year, as well as an outstanding collaboration of valued race partners and personal sponsors.

Abu Dhabi holds strong memories for Goulian: He kicked off his remarkable 2018 season with a win in the Emirates capital that propelled him to the top of the World Championship standings, and he remained a leading contender for the title right through to the season finale. Along the way, Team Goulian accumulated two pole positions, a DHL Fastest Lap Award, five race podiums and, in addition to the Abu Dhabi victory, a home US triumph that wrote his name among the motorsport legends at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

All the members of Goulian’s tight race team are back in top form for the new eight-race season: trusted coach Pablo Branco, tactician and MIT professor Steven Hall, expert technician Warren Cilliers and team manager Emily Mankins, who was recently honored for her contributions in advancing the airshow business as a career path for women.

Also returning are race partners Alpina Watches, Cirrus Aircraft, Bose and Hartzell Propeller, along with Goulian’s personal sponsors, Lycoming, Champion and Whelen.

“It’s impossible to overstate how much we value these relationships, which have continued and grown over the seasons,” says Goulian.

In fact, for 2019 the Extra 330SC that Goulian flies in his popular airshow displays will be adorned with Whelen’s colors. A leader in aviation lighting, Whelen has been a longtime Goulian supporter. The pilot comments, "It will be an honor to showcase our great relationship, but fans will have to wait until the airshow season gets underway to see our new Whelen design in the sky – we’ll be unveiling it at the SUN 'n FUN Fly In this April.”

In the meantime, Team Goulian’s full focus is on the race at hand, with Qualifying on Friday and Race Day on Saturday. The Abu Dhabi racetrack layout is the same as last year, but the new season does bring some changes in terms of the rules. World Championship points will now be awarded to the top three finishers in Qualifying, and bonus points will be granted for advancing through each Race Day round. The new points scheme could play to the advantage of a pilot like Goulian, who finished in the top three in fully 50 percent of his 2018 Qualifying sessions and progressed all the way to the Final 4 in 75 percent of his races.

“I’m very proud of our team, our partners and all our fans and supporters. Together we’ve made a lot of memories in the Red Bull Air Race, and last year was the most exiting yet,” Goulian says. “We’ll only keep pushing forward because better never quits!”