A1 car and Boeing 777 race at Auckland Airport (+video/photos)

A1GP driver Jonny Reid and a Boeing 777 shared the honours after two races in this morning's ultimate quest for speed race at Auckland International Airport.

The Air New Zealand Boeing 777, which was piloted by Captain Dave Morgan, took advantage of a size handicap and local knowledge of the tarmac to pip Reid's Black Beauty in the first race.

The Boeing eventually reached a take-off of just under 270km p/h, with Reid's Black Beauty reaching nearly 300km p/h, racing past the Boeing just as it left the tarmac and took to the sky.

But the A1 supremo struck back to take the chequered flag in race two.

Black Beauty driver Jonny Reid said it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and something he would not forget.

"It was just fantastic, a mind blowing experience. We were running out of revs pretty much just on the limit all the way down the end but we managed to blow the triple seven.

"The first one we didn't get quite right with the traction, the road is a bit damp but to top it off with the donuts at the end, what an experience," Reid said.

The races were to promote the arrival of 21 nations for the A1GP Taupo on January 20.

New Zealand is currently third in the standings.

The Boeing 777 had no passengers or freight and minimal fuel, and the big challenge was keeping it on the ground long enough to complete the race. Captain Morgan said the race used less fuel than a test flight.

A1 Team NZL said it approached Auckland Airport about the promotion six months ago and Air New Zealand had joined after safety and environmental concerns were allayed.

Airport chief executive Don Huse said the airport never closed but for the first time in its 42-year history the schedule had been adjusted to squeeze in the race.


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