Virgin Australia's new safety video featuring a Supercar racing around Bathurst is a bit weird

Holden on… Jamie Whincup in ViriSource: Virgin Australia

Airline safety videos have become a competitive sport in recent years, with Air New Zealand leading the charge with a brilliant series that’s utilised everything from Lord of the Rings, to Sports Illustrated models, Bear Grylls, a nude crew covered in body paint and the All Blacks rugby team in a “Men in Black” parody.

And earlier this year, Qantas, joined in the fun with an epic showcase of Australia in 17 stunning locations, from the life-jacket demonstration at Bondi Icebergs, to a woman hang-gliding at Stanwell Tops, and Josephine Falls in Queensland turned into the emergency slide demonstration.

Now it’s Virgin Australia’s turn, but the airline’s attempt to leverage off being naming rights sponsor to the V8 Supercars series, released this week, seems a bit out of place.

The video has cabin crew “challenging” Red Bull Racing Holden driver Jamie Whincup and six-time champion to race in which he has to complete a lap of Mt Panorama circuit before they finish the safety briefing. Given it normally takes around 2 minutes 7 seconds to lap the famed 6.213km Bathurst track and the video is 5 mins 31 secs, there’s a bit of padding to the dramatic tension, especially since Whincup’s “lap” takes up 3 mins and 17 secs of the total message.

Perhaps the man who almost won Bathurst 1000 in October – the video was made shortly after the race – was taking it a little easier because he had veteran Virgin Australia captain Bradley Clarke in the passenger seat. And he has to miss fellow racers Mark Winterbottom and Rick Kelly on top of the mountain in the brace position.

Whincup delivers quite a few of the lines in the safety message with his helmet on, sounding a bit like he’s talking to his pit crew.

But watching it, we can’t help thinking the whole thing doesn’t really sit right as an airline safety message.

Virgin Australia group executive John Thomas said he believes people will find it entertaining, explaining the reasoning behind it thus: “Virgin Australia and the Supercars are both high-performance, safety-led organisations which makes this the perfect partnership for delivering our on board safety message to guests.”

Here’s the video in full so you can decide for yourself.

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