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Bonneville Speed Week Set to Return After 2 Years

Bonneville Speed Week Set to Return After 2 Years

The Salt Flats will once again host land speed records

Cancelled in 2014 and 2015 due to deteriorating track conditions at the Bonneville Salt Flats, the popular Bonneville Speed Week is set to return in August. According to an update from the Southern California Timing Association, Bonneville Speedway is finally ready to host a new motorsport event.

"As of right now we have an 8-Mile Long Course, a 5-Mile Short Course and a 3-Mile Rookie Course. Course Prep is in motion and the 5-Mile & 3-Mile courses have been groomed. The SCTA is confident that the courses are all good and there is salt all the way down," claims the updated signed by SCTA President and Race Director Bill Lattin and Bonneville Nationals Inc. Chairman Pat McDowell.

That’s a significant improvement compared to last year, when the SCTA could only find 2.25 miles of safe salt to race on.

A reduction of available racing surface and salt thickness has led to the cancellation of events at Bonneville in recent years, including the iconic Speed Week in 2014 and 2015. Heavy rains caused a layer of mud from surrounding mountains to flow onto the flats, covering approximately 6 miles of the track, while nearby salt mining operations have reduced the size of the usable track and prevented the organization from finding another suitable section.

The depth of the salt crust at Bonneville has also been decreasing. Measured at as much at three feet in the 1950s, it has been reduced to just 0.17 feet in 2015. Both the SCTA and BNI have worked together with the Bureau of Land Management to protect the Salt Flat. Campaigns such as "Save the Salt" are also making effort to restore the area.

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2015 Bonneville Salt Flats Speed Week Canceled Due To Weather Conditions

2015 Bonneville Salt Flats Speed Week Canceled Due To Weather Conditions

Bonneville – the full-throttle gearhead mecca. Since 1914, this stretch of flat, empty desert in northwestern Utah has been the venue of choice for countless top-speed runs. Every year, five major land-speed events take place here. Unfortunately, it was recently announced that one of those events, Speed Week, traditionally held every August, has been canceled due to weather conditions and concerns over the poor quality of the salt surface.

This is the second year in a row the event has been canceled, with last year’s event called off due to ankle-deep flooding caused by monsoon storms.

The Southern California Timing Association (SCTA), the organization responsible for organizing and running the event, posted to their Facebook page that recent precipitation left only 2.25 miles of “salt suitable for a safe race course.” The rest of the lakebed is either too wet or muddy.

To run a “short course,” the SCTA requires at least 4 miles of dry salt (preferably 4.5 miles). Ideally, a 7-mile course is used.

Organizers gauge conditions on salt length, thickness and purity when it comes to picking the best stretches for high-speed runs.

Speed Week is one of the biggest racing events of the year for Bonneville, attracting between 10,000 and 15,000 spectators and hundreds of race teams from around the world, eager to set new top-speed records. The event has been ongoing for over six decades, with only the occasional cancelation due to weather. Before seeing the cancellation in 2014, the event was last canceled due to weather in the ‘90s. It’s reported that more than 500 individual vehicles were registered for this year’s event.

The SCTA says that if the wet spots dry out, future events could be possible. For the time being, the World Finals race, scheduled to run from September 29th to October 2nd, is still a go.

To make up for the canceled Speed Week, race organizers could extend the October event, or possibly relocate to another appropriate venue, although details are not currently available.

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1992 Video: 1992 Audi S4 Hits 260 mph

In 1992, the S4 was both luxurious and rather powerful, considering its 2.2-liter 5-cylinder engine pumped out a stout 227 horsepower. By today’s standards, those numbers are pretty much average for a 5-cylinder engine – the handful, or so, out there. So the last thing you would classify this aging Audi is supercar fast. Well, that is until you have a look at Jeff Garner’s heavily modded S4.

This beast’s 2.2-liter 5-banger has had more work done than an aging actress trying to make a comeback. It now pumps out a mind-blowing 1,100 horsepower to all four wheels via the Audi’s classic Quattro system. Jeff uses this massive powerplant to run the S4 at the Bonneville Salt Flats each year and last year he managed to hot 242 mph – an impressive number itself.

This year, however, Jeff was aiming for the stars and got pretty close; as he hit an astounding 260 mph. Soak that up for a second… That’s faster than a Bugatti Veyron and pretty much every other factory car on the market today. In fact, reports are pointing that this may be the fastest sedan on record.

Even better, there is now a two-part video of this awesome run. You can see part one above and part two is after the jump.

Simply awesome!

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Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid achieves 185 mph world record at Bonneville

Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid achieves 185 mph world record at Bonneville

World speed records are usually associated with vehicles like the Bugatti Veyron, which can hit a high mark of 267 mph and look great while doing it. Advances in hybrid technology, however, have now made it essential to include vehicles like the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid on the list of top speed records. No, the Jetta was not able to dominate the Veyron’s top speed, or even come close to it, but it has achieved a land speed record of its own at the Bonneville Salt Flats. During the Southern California Timing Association’s Speed Week at Bonneville, the Jetta Hybrid was able to record a 185.394 mph top speed, marking the fastest speed ever achieved by a production-based hybrid on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

"Achieving this speed at Bonneville shows that the all-new 2013 Jetta Hybrid is a distinctly different offering in the compact hybrid class,” said Jonathan Browning, CEO and President, VW Group of America. “As well as being expected to achieve combined fuel economy of 45 mpg, the Jetta Turbo Hybrid also retains the fun-to-drive nature you expect from a Volkswagen in a segment dominated by less exciting vehicles.”

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline powerplant generating 150 horsepower and 184 lb/ft of torque. The gasoline engine is then combined with a 20kW electric motor with a lithium-ion battery that’s produces an additional 27 HP and weighs less than 80 lbs. The Jetta’s top speed record was achieved by implementing a few changes to the setup. Volkswagen R&D in Wolfsburg, Germany modified the engine to provide a few more ponies, while A-Salt Racing and Advanced Product Engineering, based in Camarillo, California, provided project integration and other modifications. Everything was finalized with an engine calibration and a once-over by the folks at the Volkswagen Test Center California in Oxnard, CA

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2004 ACAT Global Ferrari 575 by JBR Motorsports

2004 ACAT Global Ferrari 575 by JBR Motorsports

Typically the words “eco-friendly” and “performance” don’t mix together well, but sometimes they pull it off. A great example of a successful attempt is the ACAT Global Ferrari 575 by JBR Motorsports. ACAT Global specializes in making less expensive and lighter catalytic converters, whereas JBR focuses on building bad-ass race cars; a match made in heaven. This modified Ferrari 575 is set to take on one of the largest challenges in the world, and that is to overtake the world land speed record – in the Grand Touring class, of course – at the Bonneville Speed Flats.

JRB and ACAT have been tight lipped about what this Ferrari 575 has behind the rear seats, but we are 100 percent certain that it is a little more than the standard 515-horsepower 5.8-liter V-12 that the stock 575 boasts. Granted, that engine is good, but certainly not enough to beat out the Ferrari record of 232 mph.

The exterior of the Ferrari 575 is draped in a coat of French Blue Ferrari Racing paint with graphics by custom-graphics-extraordinaire, Troy Lee, but the remainder of the exterior modifications are still unknown at this time. We are certain that the Ferrari will boast a lower ride height to help with aerodynamics and a series of diffusers on the rear to help reduce the drag on the rear of the Ferrari.

As we approach the August 11th debut of the Ferrari 575, given it passes its 3-day testing phase, we will learn more about this super-fast Ferrari. We will pass information along to you, as we receive it.

Click past the jump to read the press release regarding its record-setting attempt.

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The Speed Demon Tears Up Bonneville

The Speed Demon Tears Up Bonneville

The name pretty much says it all. Speed Demon. You’re not going to pull any muscles trying to figure what the vehicle is for and what it represents.

The vehicle was the creation of George Poteet and Ron Main, two people that had one objective for the project. They wanted to build a car that can go where few people have gone before: 400 mph.

The intimidating name of the vehicle comes as a result of having a 347- cubic-inch V8 engine that’s combined with a pair of Turbonetics "Demon" turbochargers to produce an output of 2,200 horsepower. Yikes.

So after months and months of testing and development, the team went to the Bonneville Salt Flats to give the Speed Demon a shakedown of a lifetime. With Poteet behind the wheel, the Bonneville Blown Fuel Streamliner known as the "Speed Demon" proceeded to run an astonishing 426 mph.

Even better, Poteet was able to capture his run on video, which will show you exactly what it feels like to travel at such ridiculous speeds.

Full details behind the machine have yet to be revealed by Poteet and Main, apparently because their site isn’t updated yet. Nevertheless, there are plenty of photos and videos you can look at to learn more about the Speed Demon.

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2011 Spectre Performance SpeedLiner

2011 Spectre Performance SpeedLiner

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.

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Modern Day Steam Machine to Break Land Speed Record

Modern Day Steam Machine to Break Land Speed Record

We love going fast and we love pushing the limits to see what our vehicles are capable of. The Bonneville Salt Flats provide a perfect setting for speed junkies of all kind to come and find out what they are capable of achieving. This dry lake bed has been dominated in recent times by the internal combustion engine and even jet power, but an older form of powering four wheels is about to take center stage once again.

The U.S. Land Steam Record Team will be attempting to beat the current record in their newest steam powered vehicle. In 2009, Team Inspiration from Great Britain broke the 1985 steam record by hitting 148.308 mph. The previous official FIA record of 127mph was set in 1906 by American, Fred Marriott, driving a Stanley steamer at Daytona Beach.

Driver and car designer, Chuk Williams, in conjunction with Cyclone Power Technologies will be the latest steam pioneers when they attempt the record breaking run in August 2011. The state of the art streamline design is projected to hit a top speed north of 200 mph, which would undoubtedly seal its position in the history books. We look forward to reporting more on the attempt once the team makes it to Bonneville.

Hit the jump for more details on the U.S. Land Steam Record Team

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2011 Renault 4 Bonneville Racer

2011 Renault 4 Bonneville Racer

With all the record-breaking attempts taking place at an increasing rate these days, it only seems fair to bring to everyone’s attention the latest attempt at a new record.

As a way of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Renault4, Renault is offering its services to a team that call themselves the “Triplets de Bonneville”. The team is looking to earn the title of being the fastest Renault4 ever built at the Bonneville Speed Week this coming August.

As a car that was first introduced back in 1961, the Renault4’s production lasted for three decades before it ended in 1992. In its time, the Renault4 developed a world-wide following, a legion of enthusiasts that are looking to celebrate the vehicle’s 50th anniversary with the kind of bang a car of this stature deserves, at least in the eyes of these guys.

As for the record-seeking, fully modified Renault4 that will attempt to be the fastest of its kind, it will be powered with a Renault 5 Turbo-sourced turbocharged engine that served in active competition at the French Touring Car Championship in 1983. This engine will be mated to a 5-speed manual transmission from a Renault 25 GTX Turbo and brakes from the Renault 25 (front) and Clio (rear). The car comes with an output of 290 horsepower and a top speed of 280 km/h, or about 174 mph, giving it as good a shot as any to be the fastest of its kind in the world.

In terms of safety, the Boneville Racer will receive a roll cage and a fire extinguisher, as well as a special harness, single bucket seats, and a braking parachute.

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