Yesterday I drove through the Kingsway tunnel near Birkenhead, trying to make as much noise as possible while an Alfa Romeo 8C Spider, in the opposite lane, tried to do the same. At speed. And it was all completely legal.
It was part of a planned tunnel run event, dubbed the 'noise off', to celebrate the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, which takes place this weekend and which Autocar will be reporting from (you can read our full preview here). It was also designed to showcase a large area of docklands that is being redeveloped to form a motoring industry hub as part of a £4.5 billion regeneration project.
It would be hard to judge just what the people of Birkenhead thought when they discovered that half of one of their busiest tunnels had been closed this afternoon to allow a rabble of rowdy supercars through. Still, it didn’t half create a scene.
The theme was tied in to the World Cup, with an Italy versus Britain competition to see who makes the best sports cars. British models like the Bentley Continental GT V8 S, McLaren 12C spider and 650S Spider, Aston Martin Vanquish and our own long-term Jaguar F-type V6S would be facing off against the best that Italy had to offer. And they had a lot, with a Ferrari 599 GTO, Lamborghini Aventador roadster, Lancia Delta Integrale and the aforementioned 8C Spider all lining up for the off.
There were also a field of classic bikes, historic rally racers and two very special guests - a 24.0-litre Napier-Bentley and the ferocious Packard-Bentley. Based on a 42.0-litre aero engine which for its first life found service in a torpedo boat, the flame-spitting Bentley was undoubtedly the star of the day. Special kudos must go to the poor chap piloting it, who had to cling on as around 1500bhp tore off the line.
If anything, against the V8 engine of the 8C the F-type’s supercharged V6 sounded a little drowned out, but it was still very good fun to drive. Flip the driving switch into Dynamic mode, put the automatic transmission firmly into Sport and let fly, and the F-type is still as rewarding to drive today as it was when we first tested it last year. We’ve put some 20,000 miles on our test car, and it’s easy to see why. It’s comfortable, fast and even among supercar company the Jag still attracts smiles and photographs from passers by.
The results of the 'noise off' are still being collected via social media, but it seems to me that the Italians have pipped us to the line on this one. Even with the Packard-Bentley on board, the sound of an Aventador roadster at full chat is enough to win any noise-based competition.
So go on, then, who does make the best supercars? Italy, Britain, or perhaps someone else? Let me know below.