A Supermarine Spitfire has raced a MX2 Red Bull Air Race aircraft over the Solent and Isle of Wight in the English Channel.
The PR stunt was organised by the Red Bull Air Race team and helped to evoke memories of the Schneider Trophy, an early air race which was first flown in 1913 and was awarded to the fastest aircraft over a 200km course.
The Spitfire was piloted by current Red Bull Championship leader Paul Bonhomme while the MX2 was flown by fellow Red Bull man Nigel Lamb.
The Spitfire proved triumphant over the 40 mile lap of the island, completing the circuit in 9m 35s, while the MX2 was slower, coming in at 11m 29s.
Credit: Red Bull Air Races
Singing the World War II fighter’s praises Paul Bonhomme said: ”The aircraft that I’m flying today is a real feat of engineering given that it was built in the 1940s. It’s an absolute pleasure and privilege to fly.”
Nigel Lamb put his defeat down to the course, saying: “On paper a Spitfire will clean up on the straights and the MX will gain in the turns, so the lap of the Isle of Wight was more suited to Paul’s plane than mine."
This is not the first time this summer that the two pilots have had a close encounter outside of the Red Bull races. At last month's Biggin Hill Air Show Bonhomme and Lamb won the Flying Control Committee’s Shell Trophy for Best Team Display. A photograph some incredibly close flying can be seen here of the duo piloting a P-51 Mustang and a Supermarine Spitfire..
The Spitfire vs MX2 event was to promote the upcoming London Red Bull Air Race, which takes place on 2nd & 3rd August this year.
For more pictures of the Red Bull Air Races 2008 see AirSpace ...