In spite our best efforts to surf the web for answers, we haven’t been able to figure out where exactly these pictures of a Ferrari Enzo and an F-16 Fighting Falcon came from. So we’ve decided to sketch out how we imagine this meeting of extreme machines came to be.
Steven Francetti always wanted to be a fighter pilot.
By the age of twelve, it was obvious he’d never have the chance to follow that dream. The Coke-bottle lenses the optometrist prescribed to solve his squinting problem took care of that. So Steve hit the books. Studied hard. Went to Princeton. Graduated with honors.
After college, he started his own business with a few thousand dollars loaned to him by his grandfather—a company that sold beach chairs with inflatable seat cushions for use as flotation devices, in case of a sudden tidal wave. It sold slowly, at first, until the tragic Indonesian tsunami of December 2004 brought the risk of unexpected tidal waves to the forefront of everyone’s mind. By February 2005, Steve was a millionaire.
Now rolling in cash, Steve began acquiring some of the finer things in life. A house in Beverly Hills. A girlfriend who’d made quite a successful living herself modeling for Victoria’s Secret. A private island in the Caribbean, not far from Johnny Depp’s. And a lightly used, mint-condition yellow Ferrari Enzo.
Then one day, he saw a posting on one of the Ferrari forums that stopped him in his tracks. A group of pilots from the Italian Air Force would be coming to Nevada in their F-16s for the NATO Red Flag exercises, and while there, the IAF’s PR department thought it would be exciting to get some pictures of the planes racing a Ferrari—ideally, an Enzo. Steve grabbed his phone and made a very expensive international call to IAF HQ as fast as his fingers could dial.
Remarkably, no one had yet volunteered. The IAF was delighted to hear that Steve was willing to offer up his Enzo for the event. They told him to show up at Nellis Air Force Base three weeks hence.
Three weeks later, Steve drove from L.A. to Las Vegas as fast as he dared, with his pal Fred riding shotgun. He was waved through the security gate at Nellis, then waved onto the runway. He didn’t even have time to turn off the car before an IAF officer ran over and told him they were going to do the shoot right then and there, gesticulating for Steve to drive down to the end of the runway.
He gunned the big V12, and cruised down to the starting blocks…where an Italian F-16 was sitting, engine screaming in impatience.
Steve’s heart was pounding. He’d been close to fighters many times before, at air shows and in museums, but never one with its engine spinning, a pilot sitting in the cockpit and live missiles hanging from the wings.
The photographer came over, snapped a couple pictures of the two machines beside one another, then waved down the runway. Time to race.
Steve looked at the fighter pilot to his right. The Italian gave him a thumbs-up. He returned it.
Then Steve popped the Enzo into gear, turned off the ASR, set the dampers to Race, placed one foot on the brake and the other on the gas to engage launch control—then yanked his foot off the brake just as the fighter pilot pushed his throttle to its stop.
For a split second, the V12′s howl drowned out the roar of the F-16′s engine as the Enzo leapt forward in a light mist of atomized Pirellis. The F-16 caught an early lead, but the Ferrari pulled even by the time Steve banged the transmission into second gear. The speedometer shot past 70 miles per hour. Then 80. Then 90. At 100 miles per hour, he glanced in the side-view mirror—and saw the F-16 was behind him.
He was winning.
A few seconds later, the F-16 caught up with a vengeance, blasting by the Enzo at 150 miles per hour like the Ferrari was standing still. But Steve didn’t care. He was too busy laughing like a madman. He’d never be a fighter pilot…but he could drive something even quicker. [via The Avationist]