The Red Bull Air Race Hall Of Fame

The all-time most successful pilots of the Red Bull Air Race

In the 16 years since the Red Bull Air Race began in 2003, there have been 94 races* across 36 locations in 21 countries. Here is the ultimate race winners list. In order of success…

1st Paul Bonhomme, GBR – 19 wins 
The man that needs no introduction to any fan of the Red Bull Air Race. Paul Bonhomme, a three-time champion with 19 race wins inevitably tops this list. The British pilot was part of the Red Bull Air Race from its very beginning in 2003; however, he did not claim his first win until the 2006 season – at his home race in Longleat. After that Bonhomme was unstoppable. The next year he collected three more wins and finished runner up. In 2008 he finished second again, and he won the World Championship in 2009 and 2010. After taking his third title in 2015, Bonhomme retired at the top, ending the most successful career in the sport's history. 

2nd Hannes Arch, AUT – 11 wins 
Hannes Arch was a whirlwind in the Red Bull Air Race. He joined the series in 2007 and clinched his first win – Budapest – and the World Championship the following year. In 2010 he became only the second pilot to win three consecutive races in a single season. While Arch never won a second title, he finished in the top three throughout the rest of his career. Even though his last race was at Lausitz in 2016, he still sits second on the all-time winners’ list. 

3rd Kirby Chambliss, USA – 10 wins 
Chambliss is the only pilot in the sport to be there at the very beginning and still be competing at the very end. His maiden victory was at the season opener in 2004, held at Kemble in the UK, and he continued with another win and a second place to claim the overall title. He went on to capture his second title in 2006. Chambliss has been on the podium in every season apart from one, including two wins in 2017, and he capped things off with second place at the final Red Bull Air Race in Chiba, Japan in 2019. 

4th Mike Mangold, USA – 9 wins 
Mike Mangold joined the sport in 2004 and swept the competition away for the win in the season’s third race. He followed up by taking the title in 2005, with five wins – including three in a row. Mangold took the title again in 2007, but after 2009 he retired from the sport and joined Nick Fellows in the commentary box. 

5th Peter Besenyei, HUN and Yoshihide Muroya, JPN – 8 wins 
Peter Besenyei, a true pioneer who helped to develop raceplanes and test pylon concepts, won the sport’s first two races in 2003 to earn the inaugural title. He thrilled Hungarian fans with six more wins during his career. Besenyei’s last race win came in 2007, and he retired from the sport at the end of 2015. Yoshihide Muroya was a member of the famous ‘Class of ‘09’. He took time to find his feet in the series, but when he did, there was no stopping him. His first win took place in Chiba 2016 – his home race. He seemed to thrive on the pressure and won there again in 2017, on his way to becoming the World Champion. That year he collected three other race wins. He had a quiet 2018, but he came out fighting this year winning three of the four races and taking his total race wins to eight. Muroya also became only the second pilot in the sport’s history, Bonhomme is the other, to win three home races.

7th Matt Hall, AUS – 7 wins 
Matt Hall, another member of the Class of '09, has been a strong competitor since he joined. His first race win came at Spielberg in 2015, and he also won the season finale in Las Vegas that year, on his way to finishing second in the championship. He topped a pair of races in 2016 and once again finished third overall. 2017 was a season of consolidation for him and his team. In 2018 he chased Martin Sonka all the way to the end of the season, claiming two more race wins and another runner up trophy. This year, was the year he’ll remember most. He took his seventh race in at Lake Balaton and at the season finale in Chiba, got his hands on the World Championship trophy!

8th Martin Sonka CZE – 6 wins
Sonka's first win came at the 2017 season opener in Abu Dhabi; he also won in Porto the same year and chased Yoshi Muroya to the final run of the final race, finishing runner-up. It 2018 saw Sonka become the third pilot to win three races in a row in a single season on his way to taking the title. He won four of the last five races and claimed the World Championship – quite the feat as he was given DQs at the first two races of the year. 

9th Nicolas Ivanoff, FRA – 5 wins 
Ivanoff has won five races. His first win came in Perth, Australia in 2007, and in fact, only one of his victories has come in his native Europe. He has won in the USA – twice, Abu Dhabi and his one in Europe came in 2014 when he won in Spielberg. 

10th Matthias Dolderer, GER and Michael Goulian, USA – 3 wins 
Dolderer's wins all came in one season, as the German pilot seized three victories in 2016 on his way to claiming the title. Goulian’s first win came in 2009, in Budapest. The American had to wait nine years for his second, and then like busses, two came at once. He won the season opnener in 2018 and then he won in Indianapolis at the penultimate round – something he is very proud of to win at such a mecca to motorsport. 

12th Steve Jones, GBR – 2 wins 
Steve Jones claimed his first win in Budapest in 2006 and then he won in Porto in 2007 – two of the most beautiful locations in the sport’s history. Jones hung up his race suit at the end of 2008 and moved into the control tower where he became a Race Director.

13th Nigel Lamb, GBR and Pete McLeod, CAN – 1 win 
Each of these pilots claimed his race win in 2014; Lamb in Putrajaya, and McLeod in Las Vegas. That was Lamb's year, as the consistency of five second-place finishes to close out the season clinched the World Championship. Lamb retired after the 2016 season, but McLeod continued his hunt for his next triumph, and the Canadian came close, including three consecutive second- place results in 2017 and another one in 2014. He did collect the DHL Fastest Lap Awared in 2017.

*There is a total of 93 race wins, however, because the 2016 Las Vegas race was halted due to weather conditions. 
 

Related articles

Talking Stats: The Red Bull Air Race In Numbers

Across 14 seasons of red-hot rivalries, these 10 stats stand out
Read full article

Classic Challenger Class Stories

The feeder series delivered in terms of excitement and skill
Read full article