The Bonneville Speedweek is a can’t-miss event on the calendar and anybody that has any remote interest in speed - that’s all of us - have been whetting their appetites in anticipation of what records are going to be broken in Utah. This year, a familiar vehicle to Bonneville has returned with some pretty lofty goals: become the fastest wheel-driven car in history.
We saw them break 366 mph without a sweat last year at the same event, and now Spectre Performance and its SpeedLiner are back for more. Since its record-breaking run at Bonneville last year, the SpeedLiner has gone on and upped the ante even more, having clocked a top speed of 415 mph at the Top Speed Shootout sanctioned by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile last year.
So what’s the goal for Spectre Performance this year? Simple: break 430 mph.
If and when the Spectre Performance SpeedLiner does break its goal, we’ll have a video of their record-breaking performance when it becomes available. In the time, you can find out more about the Spectre Performance SpeedLiner after the jump.
History and Design
The Spectre Performance SpeedLiner began its life - believe it or not - as a fuel tank for a Canadian VooDoo bomber and has since evolved into the SpeedLiner at Performance Fabrication in San Carlos, California.
In the years since, the SpeedLiner has been built specifically to compete in the Unlimited Blown Gas Streamliner (AA/BGS) class, where it secured numerous records, thanks in large part to its aerodynamic features.
The vehicle measures 38 feet long and is only 29" wide, taking the visual look of a huge dart traveling along the Bonneville Salt Flats at speeds in excess of 400 mph.
To build a car that is as aerodynamically streamlined as the SpeedLiner, Spectre Performance used body panels that were hand-crafted out of aluminum with hammers and English wheels at the Northern California shop. Aerodynamicist, Ken Rappaport, was also consulted on the project and designed a tapered tail section that helps it slip through the air at high speed.
Other elements of the SpeedLiner are also larger than life compared to what we’re accustomed to. For starters, the fuel tank carries 16 gallons, and that’s just for one run. Meanwhile, the intercooler tank holds 32 gallons while the engine coolant tank holds 36 gallons. Then there are the carbon-fiber brake rotors, which are 12 inches in diameter and serve as back-ups for the two 25-square-foot parachutes at the back.
The Spectre Performance team always brings five engines with them, one for each class the SpeedLiner competes in. All these engines come from 1960’s-era Cadillac blocks, heads and cranks with the usual race-ready components, Garrett turbochargers, and an air-shifted five-speed transmission. They have also been slightly modified with racing internals and intercooled turbochargers, with two of the engines capable of producing a staggering output of 2,000 horsepower.
Previous Bonneville Run
Last year, Spectre Performance went to Bonneville to give the SpeedLiner a shakedown unlike any other. With a goal of breaking the 400-mph barrier in a four-wheeled, gas-powered vehicle, Bonneville instead settled for a speed of 366 mph while also breaking a number of speed records in the process.
Since then, the team has achieved the landmark speed of 400 mph when it hit 415 mph at the Top Speed Shootout sanctioned by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile last year.
What’s Happening This Year?
As one of the premier events in the motorsports calendar, the Bonneville Speedweek offers would-be teams and individuals the simplest form of racing: go from point A to point B at the highest possible speed. For this year’s event, Spectre Performance has but one goal: break 430 mph.
If the SpeedLiner manages to break this barrier, the vehicle would stake claim to the title of being the fastest wheel-driven car in history.
High stakes, indeed.