F16 beats Albers F1 car
More than 10,000 fans, guests and media crowded around the Royal Netherlands Air Force base, Volkel, in the south of Holland, to catch a glimpse of the thrilling race between the Etihad Aldar Spyker Formula One Team F8-VII and an RNLAF F16 fighter plane.
The event, named 'Full Throttle', saw Dutch driver Christijan Albers race his Formula 1 challenger side by side against Captain Ralph Aarts' state of the art combat plane down the base's main runway.
Christijan looked to have the advantage over the first 300m as he accelerated away from the line, but over the final 700m the F16 just pulled ahead to win the tight race by only two car lengths. Reaching a speed of 450kph by the end of the straight, the F16 completed the course in just 15.5secs. Following his narrow victory, Ralph performed a spectacular flying display over the air base.
Christijan said, '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.'
Captain Ralph Aarts is one of the RNLAF's most experienced F16 pilots, with 1,100 flying hours under his belt, including in operational missions in Afghanistan. The 28-year-old started with the airforce in 1997 and received his wings in 2000. He then went on to join the 313 Squadron in 2001 and relocated to Volkel, the Netherlands' largest base, in 2005.
Despite Ralph's extensive experience in his own machine, this was the first time the Dutchman had been up close and personal with a Formula 1 car. '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.'
On the ground the machines are evenly-matched; Christijan's F8-VII has more than 700bhp and can reach 350kph in a straight line, the same speed the F16 will reach before taking off. In the air, however, the plane can go to more than twice the speed of sound, a massive 2,020kph. With 25,000lbs of thrust, or the equivalent of 10,000 bhp, the combat plane is also leagues ahead of the Formula 1 car. In g-force too: while the car will pull more than 5g through a corner, the F16 will pull 9g.
Michiel Mol, director of Formula 1 commented, 'Both machines are incredible to see. I'm so proud we have made such a fantastic show with this project.'