Even if someone is remotely into cars, chances are that they’ll love a good old fashioned drag race. Think about it. What’s a better way to test a car’s acceleration performance than putting it head to head with a competitor. Usually, the competition is just another car but sometimes the usual can get a bit boring. Top Gear probably thought the same, which is why they raced a car with a fighter jet.
Wait a minute, how is that exactly a fair fight? Is it even possible to logically race a car and a jet side by side? Well, as it turns out it is indeed possible and given that the much more powerful jet had to cover more distance than the car, it is kind of fair. So what were the contenders? Representing production road vehicles was the all-new McLaren Speedtail. Having 1035bhp, it isn’t the most powerful car out there but it definitely is one of the fastest accelerating thanks to it being lightweight and aerodynamic.
However, what it went up against was no slouch either, that being a massive understatement. The jet being none other than the Lockheed Martin F-35. With an engine that generates a total thrust of 43,000 lbf (191 kN), the F-35 should just annihilate the Speedtail. People over at Top Gear probably knew that as well so they made things a bit interesting.
What they did was make both contenders take sharp turns, which was in favor of the car as the jet required a much larger turning radius. Regardless, the race went on and the jet took the win by overtaking the McLaren on the final straight before the finish line. While the Speedtail lost, one can’t help but appreciate McLaren for engineering a car that lost to the mighty F-35 with such a small margin while “only” producing 1035bhp.
Those who’ve been watching Top Gear for a while now might find all this a bit too familiar. The reason for that is that this has been done before on the same show. It was in the third episode of Series 10 when we first saw Richard Hammond race a Bugatti Veyron, the fastest street-legal production car at the time, against the Eurofighter Typhoon.
The results were the same as the Eurofighter winning against the Veyron. However, the method of the race was a bit different. Both the vehicles had to cover a distance of 2 miles where the Bugatti had to go 1 mile horizontally in each direction and the Eurofighter had to go up vertically 1 mile and then come back down and cross the finish line.
Needless to say, the original race had us all pushed to the edge of our seats while trying to anticipate the results. Most people believe that the more recent Speedtail vs the F-35 race is Top Gear trying to reach its formal glory by copying its own past ideas. However, that isn’t the case. Instead, this is more of a homage to the original and it couldn’t have been done more perfectly.
Coming back to the results of the race, it’s astounding how the jet manages to beat road cars every single time. This does make one wonder if there’s anything on land that can beat it. Well, as it turns out, a lot of people do share this curiosity, which is why someone conducted an insane drag race with and even more insane lineup.
The contenders included General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, Tesla Model S P100D Ludicrous Race Car, Bombardier Challenger 605 Private Jet, Lotus Evora GT 410, Kawasaki Ninja H2R Superbike, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, and finally Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB8 Formula 1 car. That is an incredibly potent lineup and the result of the race might surprise anyone who’s rooting for the F-16 fighter jet. You can watch the full video below.