x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Supercars give jets a run for their money at Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen airport

Powerhouses of the sky had to make way for some wingless, land-based horse power when shiny supercars rolled into Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Airport.

From a Mercedes SLS AMG to a Corvette Z06 and numerous Ferraris, The Run To Yas saw 13 supercars took part in a speed-gun run along a mile-long stretch of the Al Bateen runway. Lee Hoagland/The National
From a Mercedes SLS AMG to a Corvette Z06 and numerous Ferraris, The Run To Yas saw 13 supercars took part in a speed-gun run along a mile-long stretch of the Al Bateen runway. Lee Hoagland/The National

ABU DHABI // Powerhouses of the skies gave way to some land-based horsepower when a collection of supercars rolled into Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi.

The planes had to sit it out for part of yesterday as 13 classy-looking cars took part in a speed-gun run along a mile-long stretch of runway.

Drivers took turns to show what they could do, the gleaming paintwork of their vehicles glinting in the sun in an environment where winged transport is a more common sight.

Australian Jack Arthur, 50, who lives in Abu Dhabi, drove a red Ferrari 612 Scaglietti and reached 261kph on his first attempt.

“What a cool thing to do in a week of speed in Abu Dhabi. It is one of these opportunities that only Abu Dhabi really brings and to come down here to do it with a small group of people, what more could you ask for on a beautiful sunny day?” he said.

“It is such a good atmosphere down here in Abu Dhabi at this time of year. Life is short and the runway is long.”

Of his first run, he said: “It was awesome but too short. I wanted to go further and faster.”

American Bill Martin, who also lives in Abu Dhabi, reached 280kph in a Ferrari 458 Italia.

“I didn’t know I was going that fast. I just look at the revs and the gears. If I had more space I could have gone faster,” said the 56-year-old.

Brendon Kronk, an Australian, took part in a silver Ferrari 360 Modena and reached 170kph, despite mechanical issues.

“It is good to have an open runway where there are nice, clean and safe facilities.

“This is the first time I have heard of this – being able to go on a runway,” said the 41-year-old Abu Dhabi resident.

The vehicles included a Mercedes SLS AMG, a Corvette Z06, a Porsche 911, numerous Ferraris and others marques.

One car, a Ferrari F12 reached 301kph.

The event was part of The Run To Yas, one of “The Run To” road adventure series that arranges memorable journeys for supercar owners and enthusiasts to Grand Prix events around the globe.

It involves three days of driving and two days at the Grand Prix, with a focus on fantastic driving, luxury stays and food and a special Formula One experience, with behind-the-scenes action.

For The Run To Yas, a group of 15 supercars left Muscat, in Oman, for the UAE on Wednesday morning for a trip of about 1,000 miles (1,610 kilometres), staying in luxury accommodation en route, and arriving in Abu Dhabi on Friday night.

Christo Thompson, co-founder of The Run To series, who lives in London, said: “We go to various ones around the world. Monaco is our most regular and most famous. This is our first one in the UAE.”

A total of 15 cars took part in The Run To Yas and some were in the speed-gun run, which some other drivers of supercars also joined.

The Run To Yas convoy of vehicles was worth about £2.25 million (Dh13.25m) in total. They were driven by UAE residents and people from countries including the UK, Germany and Malaysia.

The drivers either owned the cars or rented them.

“They tend to be entrepreneurs, self-made people with a love of adventure, travel and motorsport,” said Mr Thompson, who is British.

Among the drivers was Camilla Chalmers. The 39-year-old, who is British and lives in Switzerland, drove a silver Audi R8.

She had previously taken part in two Run To Monaco outings.

“I have never been to this region and I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to see a bit of the desert,” said Mrs Chalmers. “The whole experience was incredible. If you are a car nut it does not get better than being surrounded by 15 of the best supercars that money can buy.”

ecleland@thenational.ae