Top Jaguars soar down Edinburgh Airport runway


FEW people get the chance to drive at more than double the legal speed limit so I jumped at the offer when Jaguar asked me to drive one of their top cars at its maximum.

Police were on hand to watch and so too were the pilots and passengers on a couple of scheduled flights - as my speed thriller was on a runway at Edinburgh Airport!

I was one of 30 drivers who blazed their way down the tarmac - getting the top speed out of their cars - and what an adrenalin-pumping experience it was.

The day was a fundraiser and a total of £11,000 was raised for the two charities – The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow and The Scottish Burned Children’s Club.

This is the third year the Race the Runway event has been held and Jaguar took the opportunity to bring stunning XK an XF models to the event.

I got a chance to sample the road-handling abilities of the new XKR-S prior to its racing debut and instantly loved it.

Its breathtaking appearance, with new French Racing Blue colour, is matched inside with a cockpit layout, and a blistering performance, sprinting from zero to 60mph in just 4.2 seconds and with a top speed of 186mph.

The noise from the 5-litre V6 550bph supercharged engine is amazing with the performance active exhaust delivering an authentic, race-car inspired soundtrack.

Needless to say I had a terrific drive in the car and was thoroughly looking forward to trying it flat out on the runway.

But I was outjumped at the car keys handout as motoring colleague Stephen Park nipped in to nab the model.

Moving to an XKR was hardly something to feel down about though as this was another super cat that would streak off the start line thanks to a standstill to 60mph time of 4.6 seconds and a top speed of 155mph.

The two Jags came face to face in the drag races and it proved to be a real race to the line.

It was pretty much a case of trial and error as we discussed what mode to kick-start the race in and whether it was best using auto or paddle gears.

Lights go red, amber and green and I got off to a flyer in our first joust. But I felt the more powerful car gaining as we approached the finish and it duly got its nose in front, although official time showed a dead-heat of 28.87 seconds as we crossed the line together at 154mph.

Next race was just as close – and brought a taste of victory for me – as I held on to my lead this time and just kept in front at the line.

But the third clash proved decisive as the XKR-S made the better start and I hadn’t the power to catch it.

The races down the runway, approximately 1800metres long, including the 450metres braking area, were just fantastic and I was delighted to record my top speed of 158mph - the XKR-S managed to achieve 165mph.

That’s just over the 155mph time set by the electronic limiter which I felt kicking in as it gently reduced the throttle input a little before the finish.

The competition was friendly throughout the day as drivers tested their cars to the full and the winner was Andy Canning in his Lamborghini LP570 with this model reaching 172mph and taking just 25.54 seconds to take the chequered flag.