IndyCar star impressed after high-performance ride Report
Thursday, Jun. 21, 2012

Three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti knows a thing or two about high-speed travel.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver and four-time IndyCar Series champion is also an experienced helicopter pilot, having flown and owned Eurocopter EC120 and AS350 B3 models.

After a high-speed demonstration ride Wednesday in the new X3 at American Eurocopter in Grand Prairie, Texas, Franchitti came away impressed with the speed and handling.

The X3 is capable of more than 264 mph, easily beating the speeds of 235 mph of top IndyCar Series drivers on the straights at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And it's considerably faster than the speeds of conventional helicopters. The AS350 B3, for instance, has a fast cruising speed of 157 mph.

The X3 also can also climb at a rate of 10,000 feet per minute, the company says.