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JULY 09, 2013

- Two British legends of land and sky engage for the first time in an off-road race
- The All-New 2014 Range Rover Sport goes head-to-head with the legendary Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Fighter in a challenge organized by ahead of this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed
- First off-road challenge of its kind over the grass airstrip at Goodwood Aerodrome, putting speed, agility and handling of both car and plane to the test

(MAHWAH, N.J) - July 9, 2013 - Two supreme examples of British engineering, the  All-New Range Rover Sport and the legendary Supermarine Spitfire, have engaged in a duel to measure their off-road mastery.

The Range Rover Sport, the fastest production Land Rover to date, representing the latest advances in all-terrain performance has been pitted against Britain’s most famous fighter aircraft in a high-speed off-road race along the grass airstrip at the Goodwood Aerodrome in Sussex. Land Rover was invited to take part in the challenge, formulated by Goodwood’s website. It provided a perfect curtain raiser for this weekend’s Festival of Speed, where the new Range Rover Sport will be making its UK dynamic debut.

Mike Cross, Jaguar Land Rover’s Chief Vehicle Integrity Engineer, standing next to the 2014 Range Rover Sport he raced in.

The race – the first of its kind at the airfield – involved a drag race down and back on the grass runway, punctuated by a nimble U-turn. It was particularly challenging being conducted on the bumpy grass airfield, a surface which is notorious for low traction levels.

The Vickers Supermarine Spitfire fighter lined up for the contest was a 1945-vintage model, piloted by Matt Jones from the Boultbee Flight Academy. Powered by a 1,750hp Merlin V12 engine, it has a maximum airspeed of 400 mph, and its typical acceleration on take-off is up to 80mph before the wheels leave the ground, making it a strong contender for victory against the Land Rover.

Mike Cross, Jaguar Land Rover’s Chief Vehicle Integrity Engineer, was at the wheel of the All-New Range Rover Sport, a supercharged V8 model with 510hp on tap. Even though grass is one of the most challenging terrains on which to gain traction, for both acceleration and braking, Cross still managed to clock a top speed of 130 mph before braking for the mid-race turn.

The turn maneuver was helped by the Range Rover Sport's new Torque Vectoring technology, which contributes to stable and secure cornering.

Matt Jones, Vickers Supermarine Spitfire fighter, standing front of the 1945-vintage model airplane he will be raced in.

Cross explained that Land Rover was pleased to take up the challenge, “The team couldn’t resist the challenge laid down by and to race such a British icon.”

“It’s always difficult to find traction from a standing start on grass, but the Range Rover Sport  made a great launch off the line. I was surprised by how bumpy the course was as I accelerated up to 130mph, and of course the other extreme challenge is to brake in time for the turn-around, but the car felt composed throughout the whole run.”

Find out whether it was classic or cutting-edge British engineering that won the day. is Goodwood’s online magazine and social media website covering news, features and events in the world of motorsport, cars, motorcycles, and aircraft.