Yesterday afternoon, more than 10,000 people lined the grounds of the Royal Netherlands Air Force base in Volkel to watch a very special race. While Formula One is on a four
month week break, Spyker decided to liven things up a little and have a non-championship race of their own. The race was between Christijan Albers and Ralph Aarts. Erm, Captain Ralph Aarts. Albers drove his familiar 2007 challenger – the F8-VII – while Ralph Aarts piloted his familar charger, an F16 fighter jet. Seriously.
So while Spyker are struggling to compete with similar vehicles on the Formula One circuit, they decided to up the ante a little and run an F1 car down a runway against a Royal Netherlands Air Force jet. In terms of ground performance, the Spyker and the F16 are actually evenly matched, each producing around 700bhp and topping out at 350kph. However, as soon as the F16 leaves terrafirma, its advantages far outweigh anything Christijan could do in his F8-VII, with the F16 being able pull 2,020kph – approximately 10,000bhp. Thankfully though, this wasn’t a flying race, as the Spyker was firmly pressed into the ground.
For the first 300 metres, Albers actually looked pretty good, getting off the line well and out performing his challenger. However, that all soon changed once the jet got going, and the final 700 metre dash saw the jet whip past Christijan and win. It was close though, and Ralph only beat Albers by a couple of car lengths, and then went on to take off and perform a few aerial stunts for the awe-struck crowds.
‘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! 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. Christijan Albers.
It was pretty close, but in the end I was very pleased to out run a Formula 1 car! It’s great to see these two high-tech worlds of aviation and Formula 1 coming together for the first time in the Netherlands. I really hope it will inspire more young people to join the forces. Captain Ralph Aarts.
Some more photos of the event.