Formula 1 car vs super bike vs power boat drag race - who wins?
Usually, a drag race between 3 Hondas would be enough to send me into a deep and comatose sleep. But when those aforementioned Hondas are a power boat, super bike, and Formula 1 car, all of a sudden, it becomes a subject of much excitement.
This was a drag race that Channel 5’s Fifth Gear set up back in 2004 - a task which itself was far from easy. For a start, when you need to race vehicles that travel on land with those that travel on water, you need a piece of silky smooth road that runs adjacent to a stretch of river. Hence, they commandeered the runway at London City Airport for the day.
Driving the boat was offshore powerboat racing world champion Steve Curtis. His vehicle of choice was a lightweight boat propelled by a 3.3L Honda V6 developing 225bhp. Pin the throttle to the floor, with the trim balanced just right, and the boat could reach a top speed of 75mph. Admittedly, that isn’t enough to compete with the bike and car, so Steve was allowed to fly across the start of the quarter mile flat out.
On the bike was British motorcycle racer Michael Rutter. Riding an exceptionally light 355lbs (161kg) bike producing 200bhp, his biggest challenge when launching was to avoid flipping over in an epic-fail level wheelie.
Then, there was the Formula 1 car. Piloted by Jenson Button - who Tiff Needell quite accurately described as a “future world champion” - he was in charge of a 3L normally aspirated V10 sending 900bhp to its rear wheels.
If you wish to watch the race without spoilers, be sure to make your predictions now in the comments before checkout out the video below, and reading the following description of what happened. Skip straight to 6 minutes 45 to catch the start of the race.
In the first race, the bike flies off leaving Button stuck on the start line. Eventually, the F1 car gets going, but by that time, the bike has already left it for dead, and catching up is beyond even its awesome power. Despite the boat crossing the line at 75mph, the bike catches it up and thunders by without hesitation. First round, the bike!
With the clutch trouble that left Jenson sitting still on the start line fixed, race 2 was a much fairer contest. As a result, both bike and car got off to a fairly similar start before the car pulled away like a missile. As for the boat - I think everybody forgot it was even there.
For the deciding race, the bike and car once again got off to a comparable start, meaning only one thing could happen: the car pulled clear again, leaving the bike to wonder if it was even moving at all.
While it may seem like a pointless exercise, it’s collaborative races like this that make life as a petrol head interesting. It may have been predictable; it may have been a complete full gone conclusion. But personally, I think this is the sort of content that’s missing from modern car shows.
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