First 2007 Tests Planned at Bonneville Salt Flats Late August
Speed Season Expected to Continue through September and October
"as reported recently on www.stevefossett.com"
11 July 2007 - Sparks, Nevada, USA: Record breaking American aviator and adventurer Steve Fossett's attack on the absolute land speed record will begin later this summer at the fabled Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, with initial tests commencing late August. The current record of 763 mph was set in 1997 by Britain's Andy Green in Richard Noble’s 'Thrust SSC'. Steve's initial low-speed shakedown runs in August are planned to validate stability, handling, and safety systems starting at 200 mph; further runs in September and October will be used to expand the envelope towards much higher speeds - and to mount an assault on the absolute land speed record.
The S&S LM-1500 turbojet powered racer is nearing completion at Fossett's Sparks, NV (near Reno) workshops where Steve's 'Target 800 MPH' team under project director Eric Ahlstrom has been hard at work since September 2006. The car started life in the early 1990's as the third of LSR legend Craig Breedlove's 'Spirit of America' series challengers - originally designed to break Noble's 1982 record of 633 mph. Fossett purchased the project from Breedlove in mid-2006. Numerous changes have been implemented since the car's last runs in 1997, including a lengthened wheelbase and widened rear track to improve stability, this requiring major upgrades to the primary structures.
© Project 100 / Marathon Racing Inc 2006 - used with permission
To accommodate the higher speeds and aerodynamic stresses of 800+ mph, significant aero modifications have been made to the rear body and wheel fairings to reduce drag. The engine inlets have been re-designed to increase engine performance and safety, and the steering geometry has been modified to eliminate the roll and yaw instability which caused an accident in 1996. All-new systems for 2007 include supersonic-capable parachutes, electronic engine monitoring and controls plus revised suspension, electrical and pneumatic systems. Further improvements planned for 2008 include water injection, afterburner and nozzle modifications to increase supersonic thrust.
The LSR is about much more than the car itself, and Fossett's team members have been hard at work on all of the daunting logistics of LSR competition. An 11 mile course has been laid out and smoothed for the unprecedented speeds, and will be extended to 12 miles for an 800 mph record run.
Project Director Eric Ahlstrom explains:
“We have a lot of new systems and it’s going to take time and coordinated effort to make sure we are safe to run at high speeds. We have to be sure that the car runs safely, and that we can do a fast turn-around. An FIA record is the average of two runs through the mile in opposite directions within one hour. That means our crew has to hook up, turn, reposition, refuel, service pneumatics, remove salt from the wheels, reload parachutes, start and launch a 9,000 lb jet car in less than an hour. Our logistics group has given us a great course and the BLM has been very helpful in working with the other racing users at Bonneville. Help from Denis Manning and the BUB organization has been invaluable to our course work and we are very grateful to be running on shared permits in August, September and October with both BUB and the SCTA. Due to our use of solid carbon tires and a skid brake on a 9,000 lb car, we have prepared a parallel international course separate from all of the other LSR teams and events so we don’t damage their courses.”
Driver Steve Fossett:
"It has been a long haul - and a year of tremendous work. Of course, I am anxious to get behind the wheel - and to get up to speed as quickly as we can, but we plan to be patient. Early runs will be systems checks and will use neither afterburner nor water injection, so we will start at about 200 mph and then progress up to 600 mph. In September we will install our 'phase 2' engine with 18,000 lbs of thrust. Then we will really be able to explore some speed..."
For additional information, please contact:
Stuart Radnofsky - Director
Project 100 Communications / Steve Fossett Challenges
tel: +44 (0)1727 836238 / 844616
gsm: +44 (0)7860 612367