Dutch driver Christijan Albers, behind the wheel of a 700-bhp Spyker F8-VII Formula 1 car, easily won over a straight line 300-metre distance, taking full advantage of the superior acceleration of his single-seater, but over the final 700-metre duel the F-16 just pulled ahead to win the tight race by only 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! 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."
Reaching a speed of 450kph by the end of the straight, the F-16 completed the course in just 15.5secs. Following his narrow victory, Royal Netherlands Air Force pilot Ralph Aarts performed a spectacular flying display over the air base. Captain Aarts is one of the RNLAF's most experienced F-16 pilots, with 1,100 flying hours under his belt, including in operational missions in Afghanistan.
Due to the tremendously high G-forces they experience, racing drivers are often compared to fighter jet pilots. And so are their cars. The first known stand-up between a car and a plane happened on December 8, 1931, when iconic driver of the 30s Tazio Nuvolari, on board an Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 single-seater, was defeated by a Caproni 100 aircraft.
In 1981, history repeated itself when Gilles Villeneuve's Ferrari 126 beat an F-104 plane in a 1,000m race. In the late 90s, another Canadian driver, Patrick Carpentier, challenged an F-14 Tomcat with his CART Champ Car single-seater in the United States.
The most recent F1 car vs. fighter jet duel was staged in December 2003, between a Ferrari F2003-GA driven by Grand Prix legend Michael Schumacher and a Eurofighter Typhoon jet aircraft on the Baccarini airport in Grosseto, Italy. Schumacher won over a 600-metre distance that favoured the swift acceleration of the single-seater, touching a terminal velocity of 294 km/h, but lost over the 900 and 1200-metre distance.