Over the last fifteen years there has been 86* Red Bull Air Races across 36 locations in 21 countries. Those 86 races have seen 14 different pilots sit on top of the podium. Below is how they've been shared out...
1st Paul Bonhomme – 19 wins
It was obvious that the three-time World Champion Paul Bonhomme was going to be top of this list. The British pilot was part of the Air Race from its very beginning in 2003. However the most successful pilot didn't claim his first win until race seven of the 2006 season – his home race in Longleat. After that Bonhomme was unstoppable. The following year he collected three more wins and finished runner up to Mike Mangold. 2008 he finished second again and then won the World Championship in both 2009 and 2010. In 2014 he was third, but regrouped and took his third title in 2015, and like any true world-class athlete he retired at the top, ending the most successful career in the sport's history.
2nd Hannes Arch – 11 wins
Hannes Arch was a whirlwind in the Red Bull Air Race. He joined the series in 2007 and took his first win – and the title – the following year. His first win came in Budapest in 2008, quite late on in the season, but the fact he didn't finish outside the top four in all his races saw him crowned World Champion. In 2010 he became only the second pilot to win three races in a row in a season. Although he never won a second title he was always in the top three. Even though his last race was at Laustiz in 2016 he still sits second on the all-time winners list.
3rd Kirby Chambliss – 10 wins
Chambliss is the one remaining pilot that has been part of the Air Race since the very beginning. His first victory was at the season opener in 2004, held at Kemble in the UK. He followed that up with another win and a second place, which was enough to see him claim the 2004 title. He went on to win his second title in 2006 and won another four races. Chambliss has been on the podium in every season apart from one. And he even took two wins last season, so expect his tally to keep rising.
4th Mike Mangold – 9 wins
Mike Mangold joined the Air Race in 2004 and made an instant impact. He swept the competition in only his third race taking the win. He followed that up by taking the title in 2005, with five wins in the seven races – including three in a row. Mangold took the title again in 2007 but after a disappointing seasons in 2008 and 2009 he retired from the Air Race and joined Nick Fellows in the commentary box.
5th Peter Besenyei – 8 wins
The man credited with pioneering the Red Bull Air Race sits fifth on the wins list. Peter Besenyei won the first two races in 2003 and took the title. He had six more wins during his career. He was responsible for developing planes and would often change them throughout the season. He was part of the team the developed the Corvus 540 Racer, and he still flies it today. His last race win came in 2007 and he retired from the sport at the end of 2015.
6th Matt Hall – 6 wins
Matt Hall is one of the class of '09 and has been a strong competitor since he joined. His first race win came at Spielberg in 2015 when he was chasing Paul Bonhomme for the title. He also won the season finale in Las Vegas that year. He won two races in 2016, and after a season consolidating, he's back in 2018 and has won two of the four races so far.
A gallery of winners
7th Nicolas Ivanoff and Yoshihide Muroya – 5 wins
Ivanoff and Muroya have won five races apiece. Ivanoff's first win came in Perth, Australia in 2007. Interestingly out of Ivanoff's five wins, only one came in his native Europe. Muroya's first career win was extra special as he took it in front of 90,000 fans at his home race in Chiba 2016. He then followed that up in 2017 with four wins in eight races and was crowned the World Champion at the end of the season.
9th Matthias Dolderer and Martin Sonka – 3 wins
Dolderer's win tally all came in one season (so far), The German pilot claimed three wins in 2016 and he finished second in five other races on his way to claiming the title. Martin Sonka's first win came at the season opener in Abu Dhabi 2017, he also won in Porto the same year and chased Muroya to the final round of the final race for the title. He is back in the hunt this year winning the most recent race in Budapest.
11th Michael Goulian and Steve Jones – 2 wins
Both these pilots have claimed a race win in Budapest. Steve Jones in 2006 and Michael Goulian in 2009. Jones also won in Porto in 2007, but then hung up his racing gloves at the end of the 2008 season. Jones is still an integral part of the Air Race, he is one of the Race Directors. Goulian's second win came this year at the season opener in Abu Dhabi. The American pilot is having the year to remember and is just two points from the top of the standings.
13th Nigel Lamb and Pete McLeod – 1 win
These two pilots both claimed their race wins in 2014, Lamb in Putrajaya, and McLeod in Las Vegas. This was Lamb's year, although he never won another race, five second place finishes in the last six races was enough for him to be crowned World Champion. McLeod has also never claimed another win, but the Canadian pilot has come close and many experts say he's not that far away from his second!
The next race winner will be found in Kazan on 26 August, tickets are still available, get yours HERE.
*There is a total of 85 winners due to Las Vegas in 2016 being halted due to weather conditions.