Red Bull Air Race pilot Pete McLeod is in Abu Dhabi getting ready for the first race of the season Feb. 2-3. The London, Ontario pilot is coming off his most successful season ever. He finished in third place overall in the 2017 season, his first overall podium finish and a harbinger of things to come, perhaps.

McLeod was the pilot to beat in most of the races last year after he overcame engine power output problems that plagued his aircraft in the previous two seasons. He won the pole position in four of eight races, placed second in three races and third in another and had the fastest lap of the season.

“The 2017 season was a career best for me in the standings and a strong year across the board. The team and partners supporting me were very strong, and I was able to focus on racing as a result,” he said. “Our goal for 2018 is more speed, more podiums and of course more points!”

McLeod gives a lot of credit to his ground crew which includes long-time aircraft technician Pat Phillips, team coordinator Charlotte Sandgaard, tactician Jeff Hack and technical assistant Mark Hindley.