On Thursday the 4th of September, a different kind of winged flying machine accelerated hard down the auxiliary runway at Edinburgh Airport. A MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One car took part at Race the Runway – an epic charity drag race organized by, and benefiting, the Glasgow-based Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice.
Now in its second year the Mercedes-Benz sponsored event, invites owners of high-performance cars of all makes and models to test their cars without fear of being booked, on the extensive runway at Edinburgh Airport. In return, they just need to make a donation to the Hospice.
Seven AMG road cars, with a combined power output of over 3,000 hp, headed to Scotland to take part: From the mightiest hot hatch of them all, the A 45 AMG to the new, 360 hp GLA 45 AMG; the C 63 AMG Black Series; the fastest E-Class on the road – the E 63 AMG S Estate; the SL 63 AMG Roadster and the gullwing SLS AMG Black Series.
The ultimate addition to the runway was the Silver Arrow MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS F1 W03 Formula One car – driven in 2012 by seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher, and raced to victory by Nico Rosberg in the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix. Anthony Davidson was behind the wheel to Pilot the W03 down the Edinburgh runway.
The event takes the form of a series of heats, with the fastest car from each heat progressing to the next stage. Last year, finalists were achieving around 180 mph on the runway and in 2015 they are expected to go faster.
“We’re delighted to be back at Race the Runway,” said Rob Halloway, Communications and Events Director Mercedes-Benz UK. “It’s great fun and a real privilege to thunder along the tarmac at take-off speeds in a car – and of course it’s all perfectly legal! But best of all this remarkable day raises awareness and funds for a terrific cause – the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice. I’m certain that when Ant Davidson gets behind the wheel of the Formula One car it’ll be unlike anything seen before at Edinburgh Airport, and a real magic moment in the story of the Silver Arrows.”
What makes this event particularly unique is the rest of the airport remains open throughout the drag races – lending the event a dramatic spectacle for pilots and plane passengers alike as aircraft taxi to and from the Terminal buildings.
As the results came in the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS F1W03 Formula One car recorded a terminal speed of 192.6 mph on the runway at Edinburgh Airport. The F1W03 chassis lined up on the start line giving departing passenger a surprise as the aircraft taxied just yards away. Anthony accelerated from a standstill to 62 mph in 2.9 seconds, 124 mph in 5.7 seconds and 186 mph (300 km/h) in 14.9 seconds before reaching 192.6 mph in 20 seconds.
Of the road cars at Race the Runway, the 631 hp SLS AMG Black Series achieved the highest top speed, hitting 161 mph.