Formula E car vs. cheetah -- but which wins speed race?

Story highlights

  • Formula E car races cheetah
  • Aim is to raise awareness of climate change

(CNN)Is this the ultimate race of man vs. beast, cat vs. car?

Formula E driver Jean-Éric Vergne climbed behind the wheel for a speed test against a cheetah in South Africa.
Cheetahs are the world's fastest land mammals and can accelerate from 0-60 mph in about three seconds, reaching top speeds in excess of 70 mph.
    Vergne's engine boasts a higher top speed but has similar acceleration stats.
    So who won?
    While the cat was quicker off the mark, gaining a healthy early advantage over the car, Vergne quickly ate up the distance, edging the nose of his Spark-Renault SRT_01E ahead of the cheetah halfway down the 100-meter track.

    Wildlife under threat

    The film, shot in Western Cape, South Africa, was released in advance of this season's Formula E curtain-raiser in Hong Kong on December 2. It seeks to raise awareness of the threat of climate change to wildlife ahead of next week's UN Environment Assembly.
    The cheetah is one of 10 animals most at risk of climate change. At the end of 2016, it was thought there were only 7,100 cheetahs remaining in the world after losing 91% of their historic habitat over the last century throughout Africa and southwest Asia -- a continent where about 50 are believed to remain.
    The 193 members of the United Nations will meet in Nairobi, Kenya, between December 4-6, a few days after the launch of the new Formula E season, with the broad aim of discussing approaches to global pollution.
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    Formula E is an all-electric racing series which champions the development of electric-powered, sustainable vehicles worldwide. It consists of 10 teams and 20 drivers, visiting 11 cities over seven months.
    Vergne, who appropriately races for Formula E team Techeetah, finished fifth in last year's championship, which was won in dramatic fashion by Brazilian Lucas di Grassi.
    It's not the first time a man has raced a cheetah. In 2007, South African rugby player Bryan Habana -- powered this time by just his own two legs -- went head-to-head with a cheetah, although he fared less well than Vergne and his electric engine.