Honda Breaks Bonneville Speed Record
Source: World Honda
The “Bonneville Speed Challenge” project aimed to achieve a speed record exceeding 450km/h powered by a mini-vehicle engine, while maintaining safety as the top priority. At speeds exceeding 400km/h, even the slightest mistake could spell disaster. And, it was the first time for Honda to develop a streamliner, a four-wheeled machine aimed specifically at breaking speed records: the Honda S-Dream Streamliner. The team had only one year to complete the machine, and participate in the Bonneville Speed Week event. For the project team consisting mainly on young members, this was an extremely challenging task.
As Powerful as a World Premier Class Racing Engine
Considering the vehicle’s basic specifications, the team set the goal for the engine’s maximum output at 250ps, and achieve this with an engine based on Honda’s S660, a mini-vehicle sports model. Their goal, amounting to 380ps per litre, was four times that of the mass-produced S660 engine, and in the league of a world premier class racing engine. The engine needed to be high-revving with a high boost pressure to increase its output, setting the bar for maximum revs at 10,000rpm and a boost pressure exceeding 3bar. The team realized major modifications would be required.
Clinching a New Chance
The Honda Team’s efforts at Bonneville Speed Week finished with a top speed of 385km/h, far short of the existing record (266.561mp/h or 426km/h). The team’s challenge would have ended there, was it not for the organizers of the FIA World Land Speed Records (otherwise known as the “Mike Cook Bonneville Shootout”), watching the team’s efforts first-hand, giving them the opportunity to race in an event to be held in September.
“After one year of preparation, the team set new FIA records, for the 1 mile at 261.875mph (421.446km/h)*1, and 1 kilometre at 261.966mph (421.595km/h)*2. We set the fastest speeds. And unofficially, we hit 267.998mph (431.476km/h) on an outward run. The members who had repeatedly faced the threat of the project being shut down were so happy after the race, they were in tears. The experiences gained through overcoming crises and succeeding, are invaluable. We are also proud that there were no accidents. I believe these experiences will contribute to Honda’s unique way of creating vehicles.” -Keisuke Tsuta / Project Leader
*1 Average speed over 1 mile beginning 5 to 6 miles from the starting point, covered twice (once in each direction)
*2 Average speed over 500 meters in each direction (1km total) of the 5.5 mile point from the starting point, covered twice (once in each direction)