Date: Oct 30, 2018
Motorsport action is set to reach new heights at this year’s Adelaide Motorsport Festival as air race ace Matt Hall takes on a selection of supercars in an epic we've dubbed ‘Winged Warriors’.
Australia’s only Red Bull Air Race pilot, Matt Hall, will take on three earthbound contenders in a standing-start drag race over 400 metres. Jim Richards will drive the most powerful 911 Porsche have ever built – the newly released GT2 RS – while David Brabham will drive Adelaide’s own supercar, the Brabham BT62. Italian F1 star Ivan Capelli will line up in the Leyton House March Formula One car he raced in Adelaide in 1989.
The cars will have their work cut out for them. This is no ordinary plane – it’s a plane Hall has used to twice finish second in the Red Bull Air Race World Championships. The single-seater MXS-R is built for speed, packing 8.9 litres of air-cooled flat six that hauls the sprightly 700kg aircraft to a top speed of more than 420kmh. It can climb at 3,700 feet per minute and roll at the dizzying rate of 420 degrees per second.
The Porsche GT2 RS also has a flat six and a wing, but the similarity ends there. Like the other cars in this race, the wing is to keep it planted on terra firma. Its 3.8-litre twin turbo flat six is less than half the size of the plane’s, but at 690hp makes about twice the power. It does have twice as much weight to push around, however. A rigorous weight-loss regime leaves the road-registered car with a kerb weight of just 1470kg, a real lightweight in the car world but in a different class to the race-prepped plane. In the driver’s seat, seven-times Bathurst winner Jim Richards is no stranger to the German thoroughbreds, piloting Porsches to victory in the Targa Tasmania eight times between 1996 and 2006.
The Brabham BT62 outguns the plane in sheer power as well, its 5.4-litre naturally aspirated V8 boasts 700hp in a car weighing just 972kg. David Brabham has spent more time in the driver’s seat than anyone else, testing and developing the car into the potent track weapon it promises to be. One of four Australians to win the Le Mans 24 Hour outright, he has won multiple international sports car series, including the American Le Mans series twice.
The Leyton House March is the only car that weighs less than the plane. It may have struggled against the bigger-budget teams of its day, but its 3.5-litre Judd V8 was powerful enough to propel the 500-odd kilogram car to the fastest lap of the French Grand Prix in 1989. Ivan Capelli raced this car in its prime and used it to set the lap record at our Victoria Park Sprint circuit in 2016.
How all of that translates into a standing start drag race is anyone’s guess.
Hall will perform two aerobatic displays across the weekend, on Saturday December 1 and Sunday December 2. The three epic Winged Warriors races will take place on Sunday at 12 noon.
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