• Jan 17, 2008

Car vs. Jet. It's an epic battle that never seems to end, with new contenders continuously lining up on the runway. And we love it. Top Gear raced a Bugatti Veyron down the runway and back against a Eurofighter, Lamborghini pitted its jet-inspired Reventon against a Tornado, Audi raced its Le Mans-winning R10 TDI against an RAF Harrier jump-yet at Goodwood and Spyker F1 faced off against a Royal Dutch Air Force F16 fighter. (Volkswagen even pulled a 747 jumbo jet with a Touareg V10 TDI.) Now meet the latest challengers: "Black Beauty", Team New Zealand's Zytek-powered Lola A1GP race car, against an Air New Zealand Boeing 777-200ER.

The showdown took place on the runway at Auckland International Airport between Kiwi racer Jonny Reid and Air New Zealand pilot Dave Morgan as a publicity event to promote the A1GP races in Taupo, New Zealand this coming weekend. The promotional event seems a little at odds with the recent announcement that the series was switching to bio-ethanol for environmental reasons, but you know what? We don't care. (That's what AutoblogGreen is for.)

Neither did the masses of spectators, who reportedly lined up in the light rain by the terminal windows and alongside the airport perimeter to see the race. Two drag races were staged down the runway: In the first run, the A1GP car had trouble gaining traction off the line in the wet and the 777 won (with a light load and a head start, mind you), but in the second round the racing slicks gripped onto the tarmac and the car took the checkered wind-stocking ahead of the jet. A draw, then – we'll just have to wait for the next showdown.

Follow the jump for the video and press release.

[Source: A1GP]

Press Release

Black Beauty races the jet

It finished all square in the incredible battle of an A1GP car vs a jet plane at New Zealand's Auckland airport today.
Given a head start, a massive Air New Zealand Boeing 777 kept A1 Team New Zealand's Black Beauty at bay after driver Jonny Reid couldn't get initial traction on the damp runway in the first duel.

However, a re-match was ordered. Reid nailed the second start and reeled in his gigantic adversary before the plane left the ground.

Reid said the unique race, a world first involving a commercial aircraft at a fully operational airport, was 'mindblowing' and the perfect adrenalin rush before the A1GP Taupo, New Zealand the weekend after next.

'This was a once in a lifetime experience,' Reid said. 'It's simply a spectacular day for everyone here; a spectacular day for New Zealand actually.'

Reid said he had every confidence in Air New Zealand's chief pilot Dave Morgan as they scorched along parallel runways at the country's largest airport. But he did have one hairy moment.

'Being so low slung I had to look up to see the jet and I didn't know where it was at one point, I lost it,' Reid added. 'The heart skipped a beat until I caught it starting to soar. I was pretty much underneath it thinking whoever gets to do something like this?'

Intense interest in the race – announced just 15 hours before – meant all available vantage points in the international terminal and at nearby look-outs were utilised.

Auckland Airport's next brush with A1GP will be when the 21 other nations arrive next week to compete at Taupo between 18-20 January.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Jet engines have terrible low-end acceleration. But it's always an impressive demonstration since the average lay-man thinks that since jets have such a high top speed, that it should always win. I've seen a Viper against an F-15, too. Viper won.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Max dry non-A/B thrust:

        Eurofighter - 27,000 lbs
        F-15C - 35,000 lbs
        F-16C - 14,590 lbs (in a lighter weight-class)
        F/A-18C - 22,000 lbs
        F-22A - 70,000 lbs

        No, it's been done with an F-15 and I am sure it won't beat a Veyron off the line, but definitely would win over a mile.

        Autoweek clocked the much less powerful F/A-18C doing 0-60 off the line in 3.93 Seconds (It's true! Autoweek TV Blue angel F18 vs. Hennessey Viper, look up the video), So the F-15 must be between 3.4 - 3.9 sec.

        But the F-22, that's a WHOLE other story. It has more than double the thrust of anything else out there! Call me crazy but it just might beat a Veyron off the line. Remember that in Top Gear the Eurofighter caught the Veyron pretty damn quick and that only has a meager 27,000 lbs of thrust. Who's to say the F-22 can't do 60 mph in sub-3.0 second range?
        • 7 Years Ago
        I would love to see that Viper keep up with F-15 for more than a half mile.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I fail to see a point in this or any other race of this kind.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Aparently the whole thing cost 23,000 NZ dollars or about 20 grand US.

      Thats a lot of excitement and advertisement for the money. Of course these planes always lose to the cars during these drag races but whatever people have fun.
      Dont be so negative live a little who cares.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The explanation Air NZ gave for the jaunt was that the airline is going to test biofuel at some date, and since A1GP is switching to ethanol blend...
      Oh, and in case you're wondering, the car didn't race against a fighter jet because our current government put them all in storage and is trying to sell them off.
      • 7 Years Ago

      At least the race-car won't fall out of the sky at a moment's notice.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @ Adrian

        I'm pretty sure the comment was in reference to the 777 that crash landed short of the runway at Heathrow airport yesterday

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7194086.stm
        • 7 Years Ago
        Which by the way, was the only 777 accident ever since it entered service 10 years ago. Before that, all of the 777s ever built were still flying.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Neither will an airplane. I haven't heard of an airplane falling out of the sky in a while (the Gol crash over the Amazon in Brazil may be the last I heard of, and it was due to an exterior event - in this case a mid-air collision -, as are most of those rare events: Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, TWA fuel-tank rupture/explosion in 1996, AA rudder failure due to pilot error over Queens in November 2001, etc), as most incidents and accidents involving airplanes occur while either during takeoff or while landing or attempting to land.
        Even so, statistically and in reality, you're much safer in an airplane than in a car of any kind, be it a race car or an SUV.
        And remember, race cars need to get from one race to another in a timely fashion... they fly them! So in theory, a race car might "fall out of the sky" someday, if for instance the cargo hold would pop open and it would slide out (very improbable, but not as nearly improbable as a plane falling out of the sky).
      • 7 Years Ago
      Every time you think that there is just nothing more stupid than what you've already seen, something like this comes along.........
      • 7 Years Ago
      Glad they didn't race at Heathrow.