On Friday, Sept. 14, Team Vesco and the turbine-powered vehicle Turbinator II went 482 mph to set a new record at Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway. The team broke its own 470 mph record, set in August. Vesco will attempt to reach 500 mph Saturday, Sept. 15.
Wheeling and dealing
Turbinator II is wheel-driven, meaning the power of the engine is directed to the car’s wheels, which propel it forward, as opposed to a jet-powered car whose wheels are passive.
At the 70th annual Bonneville Nationals Speed Week last month, Turbinator II ended up with the fastest:
- Ttimed mile, 463.038 mph
- Official record set, 455.106 mph
- Exit speed over the 5-mile track, 470.605 mph
Team Vesco also won the coveted Hot Rod Magazine trophy for the third time.
This week at World of Speed, the team set more records, including that 482 mph one with the fastest wheel-driven car.
Reaching for 500 mph
Rhonda Vesco on how the team is modifying the car to reach 500 mph:
“Traction is the key to getting the power to the ground through the wheels without excessive tire spin. State-of-the-art traction control and electric fuel control systems have been upgraded and modified based on data from last month’s Speed Week runs.
“Our car has plenty of horsepower; it’s getting the power to move the car forward through the drivetrain that is the trick. Jet and rocket cars don’t have this issue as they are just blasted forward. Turbinator II is a four-wheel-drive car and will have four all-new, spun-aluminum wheels which will be lighter in weight. Last but not least are the track conditions. The salt surface must be hard.”
Turbinator II’s 470 mph run
Aug. 13, with the temperature of 93.1 degrees:
At the new record speed of 482 mph, the Turbinator II traveled a mile in about 7.5 seconds.
This video from Team Vesco shows driver Dave Spangler’s view on the run that hit 470 mph.
76-year-old race car driver Dave Spangler from Dana Point drove Turbinator II in the August and September runs.
Land speed records
Nature’s race track
It’s been two years since races have been held on the salt flats, located in northwest Utah.
Save the Salt Foundation
Save the Salt Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect the Bonneville Salt Flats and promote its history and motorsports legacy. The organization aspires to keep this national treasure available for future generations. The organization is working with government agencies and mining operations to help preserve the area.
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