We’ve seen such races on Top Gear many times. The producers of the show have pitted various cars against various other modes of transports – private planes, speedboats, and bullet trains – and cars almost invariably emerge victorious. Even if we more or less know the outcome of these races, we never fail to be absorbed by the drama of it all.
Though the set up of these races vary each time, the concept itself remains constant. The two teams will flag off from the same point. The team in the car drives straight off, while the team taking the other mode of transport will need to make their way to the airport, bus stop, train station or pier without using a car. These constraints help balance out the enormous speed advantage that the alternative modes of transport possess over the car.
This concept has been picked-up by Singaporean firm Quotient Travel-Planner, who will be organizing the Aero vs Auto charity race, which pits five cars (Team Auto) against five private planes (Team Aero) in a race that will take them from Subang Jaya to Singapore.
Participants from Team Aero are members of aviation social network WingsOverAsia, whilst Team Auto is comprised of a quintet of Singaporean Mini enthusiasts racing their Mini Coopers. Planes making up Team Aero are Diamond, Socata, Cirrus, Robin and Cessna Twin.
The race will flag-off at Subang Jaya, where the five cars will make a bee-line straight for the North-South Highway and barrel down to Singapore with all they can muster. The five pilots meanwhile, will have to make their way to Subang airport, and then put themselves through the hassle of customs inspections, pre-flight checks and the wait for runway clearance.
With an estimated constant speed of 250kph, Team Aero is expected to overtake Team Auto at about three-quarters of the journey and land on a Singapore private airport at Seletar. Both teams are expected to be slowed by customs checks, but Team Aero will have a much shorter queue, having entered via a private airport. Their challenge is to cover the 20km from the airport to the finishing line at the Mini Habitat (showroom) along Leng Kee road.
The ultimate objective of this race is to serve as a fund-raising exercise for Chen Su Lan Methodist Children’s Home, which provides care, protection and shelter to children aged from 5 to 16 years with services ranging from childcare education to youth development.
How will funds be raised? In the simplest of terms, you are invited to place “bets” on the teams, and should you “bet” on the winning team, you stand win one two prizes for a two nights’ stay at the Dusit D2 in Pattaya or Chiangmai worth S$500 each. All “bets” go straight to the aforementioned Chen Su Lan home. As of 15 March 2010, the organizers have amassed S$19,680 in donations. The targeted amount is S$50,000.
Pictures: Official release from WingsOverAsia.
Writer’s Note: At the time of writing, the exchange rate between the Singaporean Dollar and Malaysian Ringgit stands at S$1.00 = RM2.37, quoted by XE.com.