Audi’s history-making diesel-powered R10 TDI sports-prototype, which won the Le Mans 24 Hours last month, came close to beating a Harrier GR7 "Jump Jet" multi-role combat aircraft in a race at RAF Wittering in England yesterday (6 July).

The actual Le Mans race winning Audi R10 TDI with Scotsman Allan McNish at the wheel, sped down a taxi-way racing a Harrier aircraft on an adjacent runway from a standing start in a one-kilometre race.

The contest, staged at the annual Family & Friends Day at the RAF base near Peterborough in front of a 5,000 crowd, ended in a close victory for the Harrier – by one-tenth of a second.

The Audi, the first diesel-engined sportscar to win the famous Le Mans race, was quicker off the line – despite the R10 TDI being designed to start races from a "rolling" as opposed a "standing" start and faster to 150mph than the aircraft.

But the Harrier, piloted by Flight Lieutenant Pete Keenlyside, the 2006 Harrier display pilot, ultimately just beat the Audi to the 1km by literally a "nose" before the jet took off in a spectacular vertical climb.

"I had a practice run against the Harrier moments before the race ‘proper’ and I came very close to beating it – it was a very close run contest, confirmed Dumfries-born McNish.

"It was essentially a ‘fun’ race but when a racing driver and a pilot get together it quickly becomes serious. For our diesel-powered Audi, which we didn’t modify or prepare specifically for this event in any way, to come so close to beating a Harrier jet-fighter I believe was a tremendous achievement once again for TDI power."

Frank Biela/Emanuele Pirro/Marco Werner scored Audi’s sixth Le Mans 24 Hour race win last month (17-18 Jun) – the first with the turbo diesel-powered R10 TDI making its début in the annual French race.

Allan McNish/Dindo Capello/Tom Kristensen finished third in their Audi R10 TDI. McNish demonstrates the Audi R10 TDI and a 1936 Auto Union C-Type at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex this weekend (7-9 Jul).

British Harriers are presently in active service over Afghanistan, assisting the efforts of British troops on the ground by supplying close air support. FL Keenlyside will be displaying the Harrier at Blackpool this weekend (8-9 Jul).


Audi R10 TDI sports-prototype


90° V12 turbo-charged 5,550cc engine, 4 valves per cylinder, DOHC, 2 Garrett-turbo chargers, 2 x 39.9 mm engine-air intake restrictors (defined by ACO regulations) and maximum turbo pressure of 2.94 bar absolute, diesel direct injection TDI, stressed aluminium crankshaft Power: Over 641bhp, in excess of 1100 Nm








925 kg

Fuel type:

Shell V-Power Diesel

Fuel tank capacity:

90 litres (20 gallons)

Approx Fuel consumption:

41 litres per 100km (6.89mpg)

Harrier GR7 "Jump Jet"


Rolls Royce Pegasus Mk 105 turbofan weight 3746 lbs (1700 kgs)


21,750lbs thrust (approx 15,000bhp)


9.25m (30ft 4ins)


14.36m (47ft 2ins)


3.55m (11ft 8ins)

Weight (for race):

8,864kg (19,500lbs)

Max speed:

575kts (661mph)

Take off speed:

120 kts (150 mph)

Max altitude:


Fuel type:

Avtur F34 (Jet A1)

Internal Fuel tank capacity:

3,446 litres (758 gallons)

Fuel consumption:

97.74 litres per minute (21.5 Gallons) at max thrust