Goulian’s Team #99 is in Abu Dhabi assembling the race plane ahead of the Red Bull Air Race this weekend. We spent the winter rebuilding and redesigning every inch of it. Nothing was left untouched. Mike Goulian and Team Coordinator, Pablo Branco, review the modifications and explore their motivation.
Below: Mike Goulian and Pablo Branco’s video commentary:
From the very first race in Abu Dhabi last year, we were already thinking: how do we become faster? The airplane you’ll see in the 2016 racetrack is really the brainchild of Pablo. Because Pablo is a racer more than anything. He thinks about winning 24/7 365.
We knew that we had a long way to go because we knew we needed to reduce drag, fine tune the engine, and we knew we needed just a slicker airplane all around.
We have a great partnership with Bully Aero in North Carolina who has the capability to create things out of nothing. So we built new cowling parts, a new canopy, a new turtle deck, and new wing root fairings. All kinds of little tiny things to make the airplane: a. fast b. reliable and c. very maintainable.
So we put winglets on which are probably the most visible modification – our own design. We have a smaller canopy, a smaller turtle deck, we put shark skin on the wings, we redesigned the engine intakes, and we built a new belly panel. We completely overhauled the electrical system and we added a Garmin G3X [avionics panel] which is a fantastic platform to start with.
People always ask about the Red Bull Air Race: “You’re going to do all of that just for a trophy?” And my answer is: yes. We have great supporters that want us to win. Our partners are behind us 100% and I want to give them an airplane that is build by racers, that’s flown by racers, and is a passionate group and that’s what we have.
As Ayrton Senna once said: “If you’re going to compete, you’re only worth it if you’re going to be first.” And that’s the goal.