Reigning Challenger Cup Champion Florian Bergér is the first German ever to have claimed the title. A member of the Challenger Class of the Red Bull Air Race since 2015, he's also a medal-winning aerobatic competitor and he pilots commercial aircraft, for a total of 3,000 hours in the air so far.
A resident of Eichstätt, where he was born in 1989, Bergér was one of the youngest pilots ever to fly in the Red Bull Air Race when he joined the Challenger Class, but he has a wealth of experience. He began his career piloting gliders and still cross-trains with them when time permits, in addition to flying as a First Officer on A320 aircraft. Bergér started his aerobatic training at the flying school of current Red Bull Air Race World Champion Matthias Dolderer in Tannheim. The training that he received was the foundation that led him to honours such as a third-place medal in the team competition at the European Aerobatic Championships and several individual medals in the Unlimited category of the German National Aerobatic Championships, including Vice German Aerobatic Champion (2016). He has been representing his country at international competitions since 2014.
Always keen to expand his skillset, Bergér welcomed the opportunity to explore the discipline of racing and was only a half-second off the podium in his Challenger Class debut. Over his first two seasons he clinched a total of five podiums, including two wins, and his performance at Germany's EuroSpeedway Lausitz in 2016 was a particular highlight: a victory in his first-ever home race, which was also the first Challenger Class race ever held at the venue. When high winds forced cancellation of the 2016 finale in Las Vegas, Bergér was awarded the Challenger Cup title on points accumulated throughout the season.
"With all the success I had in 2016, there is still much to work on. For example, I have to improve my work in track analysis," Bergér comments. "I anticipate that 2017 will be very tough – I expect even the new Challengers will be very strong and hard to beat, and the other guys with more experience are developing their skills as well. But I think we will all have a lot of fun. I'm really looking forward to flying again in the track."