Land Rover vs. Spitfire

Gary S. Vasilash

Perhaps these guys have been watching Top Gear too much, but two vehicles, described as “supreme examples of British engineering,” recently had a drag race on a grass airstrip at the Goodwood Aerodrome in West Sussex, England.


There was the 2014 Range Rover Sport, a supercharged V8 producing 510 hp, vs. the 1945 Vickers Supermarine Spitfire, with a 1,750-hp Merlin V12.

Sure, the airplane has more than triple the horsepower as the SUV, but it is an airplane. An airplane that is nearly 70 years old.

“It’s always difficult to find traction from a standing start on grass, but the Range Rover Sport made a great launch off the line,” said Mike Cross, Jaguar Land Rover’s chief Vehicle Integrity Engineer. Of course it did. The Range Rover Sport is an advanced sport utility vehicle with permanent four-wheel drive. Part of the race is to turn around and go back to the start/finish line, which it also did quite well, undoubtedly due to the fact that it has Torque Vectoring by Braking, which uses the brake system to balance and distribute engine torque between the four wheels during cornering.

The Spitfire has (1) two unpowered tires and (2) Torque Vectoring by Pilot Capabilities. (The pilot in the race is Matt Jones from the Boultbee Flight Academy.)

We’re not sure what was proven by this undertaking, but at the very least, the video is quite entertaining: