Vehicle hit an average top speed of 261.875 mph over the flying mile

Triumph’s attempt to set the land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats may have been scuttled, but that wasn’t the case for Honda and its Honda S Dream Streamliner, which set a new FIA world record for a vehicle in its class (Category-A Group-1 Class-4) by hitting an average top speed of 261.875 mph over the flying mile at the Salt Flats. It also posted an average of 261.96 mph over the flying kilometer.

The Dream Streamliner accomplished its goal using a heavily modified version of the 660-cc engine that’s based on the three-cylinder engine that was designed for the Honda S660. Using that 660-cc engine to set the world speed record was always the company’s number one objective, as project leader Keisuke Tsuta admitted in a press release.

The record-setting run may have looked easy as the posted time of 261.865 miles over the flying mile was already faster than the 227.776 mph it set on the first day of the shootout to break the FIA record. Getting there, though, proved to be the difficult part as the team poured through every nook and cranny of the S660 engine and reworked a host of its components to get three times the power than the engine was capable of producing in stock form. Several runs soon took place, including some at the Bonneville Speed Week where the team was unable to reach the speed it needed to break the record.

Despite all of the issues that the team had in preparing the Dream Streamliner, the vehicle stood tall when it was finally time to attempt the world record run, not only becoming the fastest vehicle in its class, but also becoming the fastest vehicle Honda has ever developed, eclipsing the BAR Honda F1 race car that hit an average top speed of 246.9 mph over the flying mile at the Salt Flats in 2006.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Good things to come to those who are patient

Honda S Dream Streamliner Sets Speed Record At Bonneville Salt Flats High Resolution
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Honda’s record-setting run is a tremendous validation for the company as it reinforces the belief within the Japanese automaker that it is capable of big things if it sets its mind to it. The accomplishment is especially more impressive considering all of the problems the team encountered along the way.

There was the issue with the engine. There was the issue with the streamliner’s canopy design. There was the failed attempt during the Bonneville Speed Week. All of these problems could’ve forced Honda to raise its hands and call off the whole thing. But it soldiered on and the results have certainly made it all worth it for Honda.

And for what it’s worth, the recognized record average top speed wasn’t the fastest the team achieved during its run. The streamliner actually went quicker on one of its late runs, reaching an average top speed of 266 mph. Unfortunately, that attempt could not be recognized because the car was not able to replicate the speed on its return run as required by FIA regulations.

Still, it’s a tremendous accomplishment and it’s a record that I’m sure a lot of people will be try to topple moving forward.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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Press Release

Honda products have won dozens of motorsports championships throughout the world, dominating competition at legendary venues from Indianapolis to Monaco, and on surfaces ranging from the sands of Dakar to the dirt of Carlsbad.

Honda S Dream Streamliner Sets Speed Record At Bonneville Salt Flats High Resolution
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But this past week, an intrepid group of young Honda engineers took to the salt flats of Bonneville, Utah to post the fastest speed ever recorded for a Honda vehicle.

Not only did the Honda engineers post a new FIA World Record of 261.875mph(1mile), 261.966mph(1km) for a vehicle in its class (Category-A Group-1 Class-4), it posted a speed faster than any Honda-powered car ever including the record established by BAR Honda F1 car at Bonneville in 2006, by using a 660cc engine based on the three-cylinder powerplant designed for the Honda S660 sports car.

The project "Bonneville Speed Challenge" was internally announced at Honda R&D in Japan in 2015 and 16 members were chosen from a pool of 100 volunteers, including the project leader Keisuke Tsuta, to build the car that would be known as the Honda S-Dream. The goal of the project was very simple: "Achieve world speed record with 660cc engine."

The team carefully re-investigated every part of the S660 engine and renewed many of them including cylinder block, pistons, crankshaft and valves in hopes of coaxing more than three times the power for which it was designed. Additions such as the replacement of the lower block with a steel unit and reinforced connecting rods gave the unit the rigidity it would need to withstand the record run, and the car completed several test runs in Japan before heading to the U.S.

But as can happen when building racing machines, an unforeseen problem popped up once the team made its first test run on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Test driver Hikaru Miyagi returned after his run and told the team that he could not see properly through the narrow canopy.

Honda S Dream Streamliner Sets Speed Record At Bonneville Salt Flats High Resolution
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The vision had not been a problem on the test track due to the abundance of landmarks and road marking, but on the bleach-white expanse of the salt flats, the former Japan motorcycle champion was having trouble keeping the car pointed in the right direction.

So the team took the car back to Honda Performance Development in Santa Clarita, California where they restyled the canopy and most parts of the upper body just 10 days before the first day of the Bonneville

The Honda S-Dream made several strong runs at Bonneville Speed Weeks but was unable to reach the record speed that it sought. But soon after the conclusion of Speed Weeks, Honda was officially invited to Mike Cook’s shoot out at Bonneville to take another run at the record.

The team broke the FIA record mark with a run of 227.776mph on the first day of the shootout, then went quicker on subsequent runs until officially topping out at 261.875mph(1mile), 261.966mph(1km). In fact, the team reached 266mph on one of its runs late in the event, but was unable to duplicate the speed on the return run as required to set an official mark.

With the run of 261.875mph(1mile), 261.966mph(1km), the Honda S-Dream has surpassed the record BAR Honda F1 machine established at Bonneville in 2006 to become the fastest Honda car ever.

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