Land speed racing
Land speed racing is a form of motorsport.
A record is defined as the speed over a course of fixed length, averaged over two runs (commonly called "passes"). Under current FIA rules, two runs are required in opposite directions within one hour, and a new record mark must exceed the previous one by at least one percent to be validated. Records are set in either the flying kilometre or flying mile.
Ever since, any vehicle – car, truck, or motorcycle – able to meet the safety regulations has been able to make an attempt to break the existing record. The record is set by averaging two runs (commonly called "passes"), one in either direction, within the space of two hours.
All vehicles are separated by classes based on displacement. Vintage engines, like the Ford Flathead, Buick Straight Eight, Stovebolt engine and others are raced in the vintage classes. These consist of:
- XF: Ford Flathead
- XO: Overhead valve engines and non Ford flatheads built up to 1959.
- XXF: Ford flatheads with overhead valve head conversions.
- XXO: Overhead valve engines with specialist cylinder heads.
- V4: Vintage four cylinder engines made before 1935. Overhead valve/Overhead cam conversions permitted.
- V4F: Vintage flathead four cylinder engines built before 1935, valvetrain must remain a valve in block.
In 1906, Dorothy Levitt broke the women's world speed record for the flying kilometer, recording a speed of 91 mph (146.25 km/h) and receiving the sobriquet the "Fastest Girl on Earth". She drove a six-cylinder Napier motorcar, a 100 hp (74.6 kW) development of the K5, in a speed trial in Blackpool.
A subsequent record was set by Lee Breedlove, the wife of Craig Breedlove, who piloted her husband's Spirit of America - Sonic 1 to a record of 308.506 mph (496.492 km/h) in 1965. According to author Rachel Kushner, Craig Breedlove had talked Lee into taking the car out for a record attempt in order to monopolize the salt flats for the day and block one of his competitors from making a record attempt.
Records by class
1960–present wheel driven cars
There is no "wheel-driven" category as such. The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile validates records in a variety of classes, of which the "wheel-driven" classes are in Category A (Special cars) and Category B (Production cars). The accepted record is fastest average speed recorded over any one-mile or one-kilometer distance, averaged over two runs in opposite directions (to factor out wind) within one hour of each other. The most recent wheel-driven record holders have been from a variety of different classes within Category A.
In 2008 Tom Burkland broke the piston-engined, wheel-driven record for the flying mile, recording a speed of 415.896 mph (669.319 km/h). He drove the Burkland family streamliner powered by two 450+ cu. in. supercharged alcohol-fueled Donovan (aluminum Chrysler) engines (bought second-hand), with crankshafts bolted together nose-to-nose.
In September, 2010 George Poteet made a serious attempt to break the piston-engined wheel-driven record for the flying mile and flying kilometer. His car, Speed Demon, built by Ron Main, is powered by a 299 cu in (4,900 cc) aluminum block 'Hellfire' V8, built by Kenny Duttweiler. Their effort was thwarted by a number of parts failures. The team stated their intention to return in 2011 to set a record over 450 mph (724 km/h), and at the 2011 Bonneville Speed Week, Poteet achieved 426 mph (686 km/h)
In 2012, the Target 550 team of Marlo Treit and Les Davenport planned to raise the record for this class to more than 500 mph (800 km/h) in Viking 31, built by Jim Hume. Powered by two Dodge hemis with Whipple supercharger, it has a frontal area of 8.61 sq ft (0.800 m2) and is more than 40 ft (12 m) long. The model was tested in the Western Washington University wind tunnel, with assistance from Dr. Michael Seal.
|September 9, 1960||Bonneville Salt Flats, USA||Mickey Thompson||Challenger I||4 x GMC 6-71 Supercharged Pontiac 389 V8s||406.60||654.36||Piston-engined record with modified regular production automotive engines|
|July 17, 1964||Lake Eyre, Australia||Donald Campbell||Bluebird CN7||Turboshaft: 1 x 4,000 hp (3,000 kW) Bristol Proteus||403.10||648.73||Last wheel-driven attempt at the absolute record|
|November 12, 1965||Bonneville Salt Flats, USA||Bob Summers||Goldenrod||4 x fuel injected Chrysler 426 hemi V8s||409.277||658.526||Naturally aspirated piston-engine record Group II, Class 11: 2 or 4 stroke engine without supercharger, cylinder capacity > 8000 cm3|
|August 21, 1991||Bonneville Salt Flats, USA||Elwin "Al" Teague||Spirit of '76 (Torque Speed-o-Motive[clarification needed] streamliner)||14-71-supercharged Chrysler hemi V8||425.050||684.052||409.978||659.796||Piston-engined record Group I, Class 11: 2 or 4 stroke engine with supercharger, cylinder capacity > 8000 cm3 until 2008|
|October 18, 2001||Bonneville Salt Flats, USA||Don Vesco||Vesco Turbinator||Lycoming T55-L-11A SA||458.196||737.395||458.444||737.794|| Group IX, Class 3: gas turbine engine, unloaded weight > 1000 kg|
|September 26, 2008||Bonneville Salt Flats, USA||Tom Burkland||Burkland 411 Streamliner||2 x 8-71-supercharged Donovan Hemi V8 Engines||415.896||669.319||Piston-engined record Group I, Class 11: 2 or 4 stroke engine with supercharger, cylinder capacity > 8000 cm3|
|August 25, 2009||Bonneville Salt Flats, USA||Roger Schroer||Venturi Buckeye Bullet||Electric motor by Venturi Automobiles||303.025||487.672||302.877||487.433||1st electric vehicle to go over 300 mph|
|August 24, 2010||Bonneville Salt Flats, USA||Roger Schroer||Venturi Buckeye Bullet||Electric motor by Venturi Automobiles||307.905||495.526||307.666||495.140|||
|September 21, 2010||Bonneville Salt Flats, USA||Charles E. Nearburg||Spirit of Rett streamliner||Reher-Morrison Nitrous oxide-injected carbureted DRCE 2 V8 Engine||414.477||667.037||414.316||666.776||Non-supercharged piston-engine record Group II, Class 11:|
|September 17, 2012||Bonneville Salt Flats, USA||George Poteet||Speed Demon streamliner||Twin-turbocharged Dart small-block V8s||439.562||707.408||439.024||706.540||Group I, Class 10|
|August 11, 2018||Bonneville Salt Flats, USA||Danny Thompson||Challenger II||2 x nitromethane-fuelled fuel injected BAE hemi V8s||448.757||722.204||Normally-aspirated piston-engined record with automotive engines|
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- ‹See Tfd›(in French)LISTE OFFICIELLE DES RECORDS DE VITESSE HOMOLOGUES PAR LA FIA EN CATEGORIE A - FIA
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- Autoracing Speed Records at Curlie
- Aussie Invader official website - Australian challengers to the supersonic showdown
- The UK Land Speed Racing Association
- Speed Record Club - The Speed Record Club seeks to promote an informed and educated enthusiast identity, reporting accurately and impartially to the best of its ability on record-breaking engineering, events, attempts and history.
- The Land Speed Record in the Sixties: an on-line collection
- Land speed Record site for dedicated enthusiasts
- SCTA site