The Challenger 2’s next race will be Mike Cook’s Land Speed Shootout. It takes place September 15th-20th, and is an FIA sanctioned long course event. This means that the track will be approximately eleven miles in length—about three more than we were able to get at last month’s SCTA meet. Course conditions disposed, this will allow the streamliner to achieve a higher maximum speed.
The shootout is a private meet focused on maintaining a top notch course, so the total number of participants is very limited compared to some of our earlier races. We’re expecting four to five streamliners and a similar number of motorcycles. It’s open to the public, but the promoters are quite strict about where spectators are allowed to be relative to the track, so if you do plan on coming, make sure you follow the directions that they provide closely.
FIA rules are different from those of our previous competitions. In order to claim a record, we have to make two complete runs within a one hour period. Assuming nothing goes wrong, that means running once, turning the car, removing the body work, adding 50 gallons of fuel, swapping four tires, changing the oil in both engines, replacing 32 spark plugs, adjusting the valves, and then running again a second time, all before the time elapses. If it sounds tricky, well, it is. The crew did several dry-runs during Speed Week, and will be practicing again once we get out to the salt.
What are we trying to achieve? Well, our class record is 414mph, and it’s currently held by Charles Nearburg and the Spirit of Rett. The overall piston record is 439mph, and it’s currently held by George Potent and the Speed Demon crew. We have a huge amount of respect for all of our competitors, and to be frank, it won’t be easy to exceed either of the marks that they’ve set. That said, I believe strongly in the potential of both my car and my crew, and I do think we have a shot. I couldn’t be prouder of all that we’ve achieved so far.
On a final note, this event will be the last time the Challenger 2 runs in competition. The car will be retired after September 20th—hopefully with a couple additional records to its name. If you'd like to follow along with us in real time, we’ll be posting live to our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts throughout the meet.