Thursday, August 1, 2013

Bentley at Bonneville

I think the most impressive thing about Bentley’s high speed run over the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2012, where it maxxed out at 307 km/h, was the amount of preparation the car received.

RAF jet fighter pilot and world land speed record holder, Andy Green, who drove the Bentley Mulsanne flagship sedan said: 

“Race prep of the car consisted of putting the tyre pressures up from 2.6 bar to 3.3 bar – nothing else. That’s it!”

However, as he pointed out, although cars traveling at high speed are a common sight at the Bonneville Salt Flats, Andy explained there was a lot more to the top-speed run than simply holding the accelerator to the floor.

While filming the high-speed run a helicopter unexpectedly moved position, creating a 100km/h cross-wind.

Helicopters have previously blown cars off course at Bonneville with disastrous effect, but there was no time for Andy to change course or brake.

“The Bentley twitched ever so slightly, maybe one degree, a tiny tweak of the steering wheel and it just kept going at 300km/h,” he said.

The salt surface at Bonneville actually gets wetter throughout the day so grip under the Bentley reduced as the day progressed

Andy explained that driving at high speeds on salt makes cars prone to oversteer and many land-speed cars can suddenly spin out without warning.

“Salt is a slippery surface. The coefficient of salt is about 0.5 – that’s about half what you get on dry tarmac. So it's just like driving fast on tarmac in the pouring rain!”

Andy Green is currently preparing for another tilt at the land speed record in 2016 and this time he wants to hit 1000mph!

Jay Leno and Andy Green discuss driving the Mulsanne at 307km/h !