Kiwi mini team breaks land speed record
New Zealand’s Project 64 Mini team have made history in with a record land speed in their class of 158.039 miles per hour (254kmh) on Tuesday morning (NZ time), eclipsing the previous standard of 140mph.
The Nelson-based motorsport team have been on the iconic Utah salt flats in their return to Speed Week and had already qualified for a record in the I/BGALT class.
Their speed of 146.676 mph surpassing the previous mark of 133mph.
Speaking earlier in the week team member Mike Wilson was confident of their chances but admitted that further fine-tuning of the engine was required before they would truly hit their stride.
‘‘To be honest the speeds we’re getting we aren’t that happy with but it’s enough for a record in that class,’’ he said.
‘‘If we can do around 160 and 165mph then we’ll easily be extending that record.’’
With that mark all but reached this morning and further runs to come, Wilson said the feeling in the Project 64 camp was one of exuberance.
‘‘It’s pretty bloody good - I was driving in our second car and there’s been a fair bit of bouncing around from us - when we rang back to the rest of the team we could hear everyone yelling and carrying on.’’
Mechanical issues, long queues and close competition for record speeds had made life interesting for the Project 64 Mini team in their quest to reach 175mph at Bonneville.
Saturday proved a frustrating start to proceedings with the mini’s fuel lines failing and that had resulted in most of the fuel system being purged, cleaned and/or replaced.
Also standing in the way of land speed glory were the former record holders who had claimed back one of Project 64’s speed records this week.
Wilson welcomed the competition.
‘‘I think this time last year we were taking the motor out for the second time so we’re doing much better this year.’’
Support from back home has been encouraging for the team.
Messages on social media and media attention had been providing an added incentive to reach their goal.
‘‘I was speaking with National Radio just before and they said no pressure but we’re not doing so well in the Olympics so we needed to do well,’’ Wilson said.
The team behind Project ‘64 Mini which set a new land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah on Tuesday morning.