Spitfire vs Range Rover in a very Bri­tish test of speed

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - NEWS - Carmel Ste­wart

TWO ex­am­ples of Bri­tish en­gi­neer­ing – the All-New Range Rover Sport and the leg­endary Su­per­ma­rine Spitfire – have en­gaged in a unique duel “to mea­sure their off-road mas­tery” and to flag up the start of the Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed which opens this week­end.

In fact, pit­ting a 1940s aero­plane against a 21st cen­tury car does not seem a fair test of any­thing but, as a clever piece of mar­ket­ing and an ex­cel­lent spec­ta­cle, it deserves more than a pass­ing men­tion.

The Range Rover Sport, the fastest pro­duc­tion Land Rover to date, rep­re­sents the lat­est ad­vances in all-ter­rain per­for­mance. Its ri­val is Bri­tain’s most fa­mous fighter air­craft. The chal­lenge is a high-speed off-road / in-theair race along the grass airstrip at the Good­wood Aero­drome in Sus­sex.

The “race” – the first of its kind at the air­field – in­volved a straight drag run down and back on the run­way, punc­tu­ated by a nim­ble U-turn. The bumpy grass air­field, no­to­ri­ous for be­ing a low-trac­tion sur­face, was par­tic­u­larly chal­leng­ing for the car – the plane avoided the prob­lem by tak­ing off. The Vick­ers Su­per­ma­rine Spitfire lined up for the con­test was a 1945-vin­tage model, pi­loted by Matt Jones from the Boult­bee Flight Acad­emy. Pow­ered by a 1,750bhp V12 Mer­lin engine, it has a max­i­mum air­speed of 400 mph, and its typ­i­cal ac­cel­er­a­tion on take-off is up to 80mph be­fore the wheels leave the ground. Mike Cross, Jaguar Land Rover’s Chief Ve­hi­cle In­tegrity En­gi­neer, was at the wheel of the All-New Range Rover Sport, a 5.0litre su­per­charged V8 model with 510hp on tap. Even though grass is one of the most chal­leng­ing ter­rains on which to gain trac­tion for both ac­cel­er­a­tion and brak­ing, he man­aged to clock a top speed of 130 mph be­fore brak­ing for the mid-race turn.

For those dis­in­clined to make the long jour­ney south, there is the in­evitable video which can be ac­cessed at www.FortyOneSix.com and watched be­tween UK sport­ing achieve­ments which seem to be rolling in thick and fast.

The event was filmed with a crew of 35 and 16 cam­eras. The “race” was re­peated sev­eral times but the re­sult was al­ways the same – the ex­cel­lent Spitfire was beaten by a whisker.

SCRAM­BLE: A 1945 Su­per­ma­rine Spitfire raced the new Range Rover Sport on a grass airstrip to kick off the Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.