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.
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.