The race is supposed to be the icing on an adrenaline-packed cake

Apart from all those drool-worthy cars of all shapes and sizes, 2020 will also bring us a new series of Top Gear. Which means, hopefully, that Chris Harris and the gang will be back with even more wit on BBC Two.

Until that happens, we’re fed a one-minute trailer that offers a sneak peek at what’s in store for Top Gear Series 28. In short: expect more drifts, more crazy stunts, and… drumroll… a McLaren Speedtail racing an F-35 fighter jet.

As Fast as The Speedtail Might Be, It’s No Match For the F-35 (DUH!)

As of December 24, 2019, the McLaren Speedtail is the fastest McLaren ever built and the fastest hybrid vehicle on the market.

With those two entries in its resume, there’s no wonder the Speedtail popped up on Top Gear’s radar. And yeah, we know what you’re thinking, we’re overly excited to see Chris Harris having a go at it, but hold your horses. For now, all we can provide is this short trailer.

Watch a McLaren Speedtail Take on an F-35 Fighter Jet in New Top Gear Trailer
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Coming back to the Speedtail, you’ve probably read somewhere that it hit a top speed of 250 miles per hour during tests at the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds, which is part of Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. What’s more, the Speedtail hit this speed 30 times, so a fluke is well out of discussion, just in case the naysayers are on the prowl. It also proved that it doesn’t need special conditions to reach such speeds, which could, on some level, be a tongue-in-cheek way of taking a stab at Bugatti Chiron’s +300 miles per hour speed record set in September, 2019. But that’s not the point here.

Yes, the supercar versus airplane stunt is not new and it has been done before and all that, but there’s something eerily mesmerizing about having two machines that are basically aliens to each other race, even for a couple of brief moments. While it’s obviously no match for the F-35, the McLaren Speedtail is a speed demon in its own right. Motivated by a 4.0-liter V-8 engine working in tandem with an electric motor, McLaren’s latest marvel generates a combined output of 1,055 horsepower and 848 pound-feet of torque. In turn, it can blast from naught to 186 miles per hour in just 13 seconds, while owning a lot of to its intricate aerodynamics. Oh, and it’s even faster than the famed McLaren F1, which was clocked in at 240.1 miles per hour back in 1998.

McLaren Speedtail specifications
Powertrain 4.0-liter V-8 engine and an electric motor
Combined Output 1,55 HP
Combined torque 848 LB-FT
Top Speed 250 mph
0 to 186 mph 13 seconds
Watch a McLaren Speedtail Take on an F-35 Fighter Jet in New Top Gear Trailer
- image 878457

But let’s also have a look at the Lockheed Martin F-35. The fighter jet has been in production since 2011, when just nine units were assembled, as opposed to 2018, when Lockheed Martin built no less than 91 F-35s. There are three iterations of the F-35, namely F-35A, F-35B, and F-35C. The F-35B is the only one fitted with vertical propulsion, while the F-35C is tweaked for aircraft carrier use. In either variant,

the F-35 can reach a top speed of Mach 1.6 (that’s around 1,200 miles per hour) and generates up to 40,000 pounds of thrust.

Three factories handle the war plane’s final assembly works: Forth Worth (Texas, USA), Cameri (Italy), and Nagoya (Japan).

As for the short-lived skirmish between the F-35 and the McLaren Speedtail, well, all we can say is we’re counting down the days until that episode airs. But you already knew that.

Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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