Schumacher wins, then loses to fighter jet 11 Dec 2003
Michael Schumacher and his Ferrari F2003-GA took on the might of the Italian Air Force on Thursday. The six-time world champion raced a Eurofighter Typhoon military jet plane in three straight-line speed contests, producing interesting results.
In the first round, over 600m, Schumacher narrowly edged the plane, reaching the finishing line in 9.4 seconds, 0.2 seconds ahead of the jet. However, the specially prepared Ferrari then lost by the same margin over 900m and in the 1200m showdown the plane extended its advantage to a full 2.5 seconds.
The Eurofighter, capable of in-flight speeds of close to 2500 kph, was piloted by Alenia Aeronautica Chief Defence Aircraft Test Pilot, Maurizio Cheli. The plane had to remain on the ground over the full distance, but then took off and landed at the end of each contest.
The event was organised the Italian Ministry of Defence to celebrate 100 years of manned flight and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of the famous Italian racing driver, Tazio Nuvolari, who was the inspiration for Thursday's challenge.
In December 1931 at the Littoria track he raced his Alfa Romeo 8C2300 against a Caprioni 100 biplane. And to mark the unique occasion the Alfa Romeo and the plane also re-ran their historic challenge at Grosseto.