When a Lexus dealership owner and an Eclipse business jet pilot start exploring possibilities, interesting things happen. As happens so often with these things, what started out as some friendly trash talking turned into a full-on bet, and a race.
It took a year and a half of planning and a lot of red tape cutting to get to the race part, but when it finally did happen, the Lexus LFA Nürburgring Edition beat an Eclipse business jet by 2.1 seconds.
"Just because my car doesn't have wings doesn't mean it can't fly," Kent Stevinson, owner of Stevinson Lexus of Frederick in Longmont, Colo., told 9News.
Stevinson got a race car driver to pilot the Lexus — a 552 hp V10-powered beast that screams to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds — and bet-maker Marc Arnold piloted the Eclipse jet he usually flies charters with. Other than the huge stack of FAA paperwork that had to be completed for the race to actually happen, the tricky part was setting up a race that could test the abilities of a car that can go 202 mph against a jet that has a top speed of 400mph.
This is how it worked: the jet took off first, then circled around to cross the starting line at 150 mph. The LFA launched from a dead stop, sped to the end of the runway, turned around, and raced back to the start. Clearly, it's a very fast car, and both it and the plane hit 171 mph during the race.
The event had the full support of both Lexus and Eclipse, and understandably so, as it was a badass thing to do and makes both marques look cool. As far as the bet goes, the only thing at stake was honor. Both sides' commitment to donate $5,000 to the other's charity — OUR Center for the car and Veterans Airlift Command for the plane — no matter who won more or less cancelled out the money part.
I have to wonder if these guys saw that episode of Top Gear when the boys from BBC raced a Bugatti Veyron and an RAF fighter jet and said, "Whoa! Let's do that!" before they made the wager.
Photo credit: Lexus UK