Albers enjoys close race with fighter jet 23 Apr 2007
Spykers Christijan Albers took on the might of the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) on Friday. The Dutch driver raced a F16 fighter jet, piloted by RNLAF pilot Captain Ralph Aarts, in a straight-line speed contest at Volkel air base, in the south of Holland.
Intially it looked as though Albers had the advantage as he accelerated quickly away from the start line in the Dutch teams F8-VII, leading the F16 over the early stages. But over the final 700m of the 1 kilometre run, the plane pulled ahead to win the race by just two car lengths.
It was a tight race, for the first 300m all I could see was the plane in my mirrors, but then he just accelerated past me and off into the distance - it was incredible! explained Albers. I'd never been close to an F16, or even sat in one, so it was really interesting to compare the performance of the two. Aside from the displays though, Ralph and his team do some brave work out there, I have a lot of respect for them.
More than 10,000 fans watched the event, named Full Throttle by the organisers. After the speed contest the crowds were treated to a spectacular flying display over the air base by Captain Aarts. The 28-year-old pilot has more than 1,100 flying hours under his belt, including operational missions in Afghanistan.
Although on the ground the plane and Formula One car proved pretty evenly matched, in the air the F16 can go to more than twice the speed of sound, a massive 2,020 km/h. With 25,000lbs of thrust, or the equivalent of 10,000 bhp, the combat plane is also leagues ahead of the car, while in g-force the F8-VII will pull more than five g through a corner, over four g less than the F16.