Behind the wheel of the new Jaguar XJR, F1 star Martin Brundle took on the high-flying ‘Jetman’ in a completely unique, world-first desert drag race.
Racing live for the first time ever, ‘Jetman’ Yves Rossy, attached to a 2m-wide fixed wing, powered by four Jet-Cat superchargers, took on the new all-aluminium 550PS, 5.0-litre supercharged V8 Jaguar XJR with Martin Brundle behind the wheel, on a 1.75-mile stretch of closed private road - and in the sky above it - in the Dubai desert.
The action was captured in a short film, which you can watch right here, and see the duo go head-to-head – see how two innovative, lightweight creations demonstrate their agility, performance and control on land and in the sky.
Brundle was quick off the mark, thanks to the XJ’s All-Surface Progress Control (ASPC), offering minimal traction loss on the sandy road, and was able to hit 174mph before crossing the finish line. Rossy battled to level off after five seconds of free-fall following his Jetman launch helicopter jump, but then managed to reach a top speed of 195mph in the air before flying over the line.
Brundle said: ‘This was the most unique race I have ever taken part in. I have never seen anything like the Jetman wing, full of technology and innovation, and Yves is an extremely brave man. It turns out he is also a very fierce competitor! The Jaguar XJR gave him some stiff competition. The smooth, effortless drive was exceptional and it also handled superbly when I had to avoid sand that had blown onto the road. But as for who won – you’ll just have to watch the film…’
Rossy commented: ‘Racing a former Formula One driver was exciting as we were very close in performance. Racing in a straight line may sound simple but it is not easy and this was the first genuine test for my equipment and my flying technique in competition. Just like the Jaguar, we use light yet strong materials in our wing to optimise performance, and superchargers to power me along. But while it is the technology and the aerodynamics that make the XJR perform the way it does, with me it is my body movements under the jetwing strapped on my back that make me fly the way I do.’
Ian Hoban, Vehicle Line Director, XJ said: ‘The new Jaguar XJ reaffirms its status as the most dynamic, distinctive luxury saloon. Its all-aluminium construction gives it a low weight but high strength base and technology like the electric power-assisted steering and All-Surface Progress Control, really does help the driver get the most out of the car. In fact, the XJ has a suite of advanced driver assistance systems including adaptive cruise control with queue-assist, reverse traffic detection, closing vehicle sensing, 360-degree surround camera system and semi-automated bay and parallel parking. But just like Yves and his jetwing, the driver can still enjoy getting the most out of the car.’