Range Rover Sport races a Spitfire at Goodwood

Anglophiles sit up and take notice – it’s the Battle of Britain all over again. Ahead of this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, two British greats have been pitted against each other in an off-road race at the Goodwood Aerodrome in Sussex.

In one corner, youth and innocence – the new Range Rover Sport. The fastest production Land Rover to date packs a 5.0 litre supercharged V8 with 510 hp on tap, which propels the SUV and its driver, Jaguar Land Rover chief vehicle integrity engineer Mike Cross, to 100 km/h from rest in just five seconds.

In the other corner, age and experience – the legendary Supermarine Spitfire, piloted by the Boultbee Flight Academy’s Matt Jones. The 1945-vintage model boasts a 1,750 hp Merlin V12, a maximum airspeed of 640 km/h and a typical take-off acceleration of 128 km/h before the wheels leave the ground.

The race involved a straight drag run down and back on the runway, punctuated by a nimble U-turn. It was particularly challenging being conducted on the bumpy grass airfield, notorious for being a low-traction surface. Still, Cross managed to hit 208 km/h before braking for the U-turn.

Was it classic or cutting-edge British engineering that won the day? Place your bets, get a cuppa ready, take a deep breath and hit Play.