F1 Star Martin Brundle and New Jaguar XJR Take on High-Flying ‘Jetman’ in World-First Desert Drag Race

10 December 2015

Yves Rossy, the Jetman Dubai pilot, went head-to-head against a Jaguar XJR driven in a unique contest deep in the Dubai desert.

  • Martin Brundle drives new 2016 model year Jaguar XJR in 1.75-mile live car race against 'Jetman' Yves Rossy in the Dubai desert
  • Head-to-head race demonstrates the benefits of lightweight construction on agility, performance and control in the air and on the road
  • Sandy conditions offer a clear demonstration of the benefits of the Jaguar XJ's new All-Surface Progress Control (ASPC)
  • New short film captures the action
  • Brundle and Rossy discuss comparable technology within their two machines


Martin Brundle, who drove in F1 alongside Michael Schumacher and is now a commentator, had the new all-aluminium 550PS, 5.0-litre Supercharged V8 Jaguar XJR at his disposal while Rossy was strapped to his 2m-wide fixed wing, powered by four Jet-Cat superchargers. 

The race took place on a closed private road and in the skies above it, and was captured in a three-minute short film. 

Brundle said: "This was the most unique race I have ever taken part in. I have never seen anything like the Jetman wing, full of technology and innovation, and Yves is an extremely brave man. It turns out he is also a very fierce competitor! 

"The Jaguar XJR gave him some stiff competition. The smooth, effortless drive was exceptional and it also handled superbly when I had to avoid sand that had blown onto the road. But as for who won - you'll just have to watch the film…" 

Brundle was helped off the line by the XJ's innovative All Surface Progress Control (ASPC), a high-tech system that automatically limits traction loss on the rear-wheel drive car at low speeds on slippery surfaces, maximising grip in tough conditions. He was able to reach a top speed of 174 mph (280 km/h) before crossing the finish line. 

After five seconds of free-fall following his jump from the Jetman launch helicopter, Rossy was able to level off and power through the sky above the car, reaching a top speed of 195mph before he flew over the line. 

Rossy said: "Racing a former Formula One driver was exciting as we were very close in performance. Racing in a straight line may sound simple but it is not easy and this was the first genuine test for my equipment and my flying technique in competition. 

"Just like the Jaguar, we use light yet strong materials in our wing to optimise performance, and superchargers to power me along. But while it is the technology and the aerodynamics that make the XJR perform the way it does, with me it is my body movements under the jetwing strapped on my back that make me fly the way I do." 

Ian Hoban, Vehicle Line Director, XJ said: "The new Jaguar XJ reaffirms its status as the most dynamic, distinctive luxury saloon. Its all-aluminium construction gives it a low weight but high strength base and technology like the electric power-assisted steering and All-Surface Progress Control, really does help the driver get the most out of the car. 

"In fact, the XJ has a suite of advanced driver assistance systems available including adaptive cruise control with queue-assist, reverse traffic detection, closing vehicle sensing,

360° surround camera system and semi-automated bay- and parallel parking. But just like Yves and his jetwing, the driver can still enjoy getting the most out of the car."

- ENDS - 


Notes to Editors

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