With a stellar victory at February’s Red Bull Air Race season opener in Abu Dhabi, US pilot Michael Goulian has claimed the top of the World Championship standings. The Massachusetts native will be the man to beat when the second stop of the eight-race calendar takes off with the sport’s first-ever race in France on April 20-22, and Team Goulian has been deep in preparation…

Cannes, France

Michael, congratulations! You really kicked off your 10th full season in the World Championship with a bang. How does it feel?

MG: Obviously, it’s fun to be in the #1 spot. The fact that we have the bullseye on our backs and people are chasing us is a place I like to be. There is no pressure from my side at being in front – I’ll just keep on doing as I’ve been doing since the start of the year.

Even if you weren’t at the top of the leaderboard, Cannes would be a big deal. French fans have been wanting a stop of their own for a long time, and they are finally getting their wish. Plus the city will be rolling out the red carpet for the race just two weeks before their big film festival. What do you anticipate?

MG: Cannes will surely be a highlight of the year since it’s such a beautiful location and a place we haven’t seen yet. And of course, besides being home to the film festival, Cannes is close to Monaco. As an F1 fan having watched the Grand Prix of Monaco since the early 90’s, I can’t help but feel a little bit of the mystique of that race could rub off on the Red Bull Air Race in Cannes.

Have you done anything special to prepare for this race?

MG: I’ve been thinking about Cannes since the day after Abu Dhabi, but the preparation is the same process that I do for every race. That’s the goal for Cannes, to treat it as any other race. However, as many people already know, our raceplane is still quite heavy compared to the rest of the field, which costs us some time on the track. Since we have made the plane as light as possible already, it comes down to me. So for preparation for this race, I’ve lost an additional eight pounds since Abu Dhabi, which I think is about as much as I can lose and stay healthy.

So your own preparation has obviously been intensive. How is the team’s outlook?

MG: Hard work and team chemistry are critical, and our whole team has been relentless in the pursuit of speed. I think we’re all in the right mindset, and we’re looking forward to another challenging week against some amazing pilots and teams.

See Team Goulian defend their lead at the historic Red Bull Air Race premiere in France. The action takes off with Qualifying on Saturday and Race Day on Sunday, 22 April.


Saturday 10am EST, 4pm CEST
Stream online @ www.RedBullAirRace.com/Live
USA: NBC Sports App (digital)

Sunday 8am EST, 2pm CEST
Stream online @ www.RedBullAirRace.com/Live

For all information and updates, visit www.redbullairrace.com.

Photos courtesy Red Bull Content Pool.