Kiwi mini team breaks land speed record

The Tribune (NZ) - - MID WEEK MOTORING -

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.

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