Danny discusses the delays at Bonneville, the condition of the salt, and answers questions submitted by fans.
Stay up-to-date with our progress.
Big news! AT&T U-verse is airing a 3-part special on our quest to break the land speed record with the Challenger II. You can watch part 1 free online at this link: http://uverse.com/tv/show/challenger-ii-breaking-the-land-speed-record
As you've probably heard, the 2014 Bonneville World Finals were cancelled do to rain. It was our last opportunity for a full course record pass, which means our plans will be delayed until the 2015 season. Were we disappointed? Absolutely. That said, 2014 was a tremendously successful year for us. As far as we can tell, we reached the 400mph mark faster than any other piston car ever. To celebrate that, our friends at Mickey Thompson Tires put together this fantastic video. See you next season!
Hi everyone. I'm pleased to announce that the Challenger II's final runs of 2014 will take place at the SCTA's World Finals event in Bonneville, Utah. The meet begins Saturday, Sep 27th, and goes until Friday, Oct 3rd. This year's competition has been expanded to a full "Speed Week" size event, and should be a great capstone to what has been a fantastic opening season for the restored and updated Challenger II.
The car has only run three full course passes so far, but has already achieved a speed of 419mph. We hope to keep building on that strong foundation to set a new AA/FS record before the end of the season. That said, we are well aware of just how difficult that is, and will continue with the steady and methodical approach that has served us well up to this point.
I'd like to take a moment to thank all of our major sponsors, including Mickey Thompson Performance Tires, Galpin Ford, Hoenig Concrete Plants, and Airaid®. I'd also like to extend my sincere gratitude to the many other companies and individuals who have supported our efforts through product consideration or individual contributions. A full list is available here. As always, the project is hungry for addition funding. If you'd like to contribute personally, or know a company that would benefit from the unique exposure we can offer, please have a look at this page.
Finally, the project has been generating a lot of attention across all forms of media. If you missed out, Ann O'Neill wrote an amazing piece for CNN, Deepa Bharath put us on the front page of the Orange County Register, and Hot Rod Magazine did a great in depth profile of the project. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Thanks for sticking with us!
Hey guys. This is a relatively short entry that will be updated with more detail tomorrow evening. The short story is that we didn't get the record. The car left the line harder than it ever has before. It was a rocket ship start, but when I hit 6000rpm, one of the clutches failed. The car dropped into neutral and I navigated safely away from the course. We're very disappointed, but not discouraged. This would have been the car's third full run ever, so it's still early days. We haven't had any major issues up to this point, which is sort of a miracle in this sport.
The initial plan was to fly in parts for Cook's Shootout, which was supposed to start on Friday, but I'm hearing that it may be postponed a few weeks. If that is the case, we'll head home and prep the car for more runs next month. I'll keep you up to date as I learn/figure out more. Thank you for all the support.
What a great day for the Challenger II and the whole THOMPSONLSR team. As of this moment, we have qualified for the AA/Fuel Streamliner record. We averaged 419mph during the final mile and went a bit faster out the back door. To make things official, we have to back up today's run tomorrow morning. If we are successful, we're in 400mph club and the record books.
We started out a little later in the day than I would have liked, which gave the salt time to warm up and soften. That said, the surface was much better than yesterday, and the car felt more composed during the run. Going that fast that quickly was an unbelievable thrill. The mile markers were blazing by.
The streamliner is currently in USFRA impound. We got four hours to work on it after the last run and we used every second of it. I'm delighted to report that everything checked out well. The engines were strong, the fuel system is holding, and the tires are ready to roll. We've got a lot of work ahead of us, and getting the record is by no means guaranteed, but we're all feeling good and ready to go after the big number with everything we've got.
More news tomorrow. See you then.
Boom! The Challenger II got to stretch its legs on a full length course for the first time since 1968, and boy was it exciting. The streamliner reached an average speed of 390mph, just a few mph shy of the class record. This was, in effect, the last of our "test runs," and we were able to prove that the dry block engines could survive a full five mile run. (And boy did they.)
We had a few problems early in the day, mainly to do with our fuel setup, but we got them solved relatively quickly and lined up with the other cars. We've never actually gone over 300mph in an event before (only in testing), so we ended up in a lower speed line and had to wait out much of the day. That gave the sun time to soften up the salt, which meant that conditions were decent but not ideal. However, the car handled like champ, and we should be able to avoid most of those problems during our next run.
We have a few changes to make tonight, but we're going to go back out tomorrow morning and see if we can exceed the current record and earn ourselves a spot in the 400mph club. Full speed ahead!
We're back at Bonneville! The rain is gone and the course is looking relatively strong. The first couple of miles are rough but manageable and we should have three full miles for shutoff. After Speed Week was cancelled due to flooding, the USFRA decided to expand their World of Speed event, which provided us with an unexpected opportunity to practice before the fast FIA runs later this month. We jumped at the chance, and the team pulled together in order to get everything ready in time.
We left yesterday evening, and I'm pleased to report that our pits are now setup, we've been through tech, and the rest of the crew is flying in tonight. If all continues to go well, we should run for the first time tomorrow. We'll be posting text, picture, and audio updates here every evening, so stay tuned for more info.
It rained again last night, and the sad news followed around 7:30 this morning. After repeated deluges, the SCTA made the decision to cancel Speed Week. Given that the main course is now a lake, it's hard to blame them. Are we disappointed? We're more than disappointed. But we're certainly not giving up. The plan at the moment is to head back to Huntington Beach and begin prepping the car for Cook's Shootout in September. The SCTA is considering expanding a smaller event later this year into a sort of pseudo Speed Week, but a lot more details need to be hammered out before we can speak to that.
The parallels between this event and what happened to M/T in 1968 are obvious, but I don't want to dwell on them too much. Mother nature rules at Bonneville. That's indisputable. But we are fueled by a fiery purpose, and will do whatever it takes to see this thing though. Thanks for sticking with us.
It's Friday, August 8th, and we're on the shore of a lake that we were hoping was going to look a lot more like a race track. A sudden storm two nights ago flooded the flats, so we're stuck at the Montego Bay for a few days while we wait for the water to recede. The good news is that the SCTA has completed a review of the speedway and believes that the courses are drying well and that conditions will continue to improve. In practical terms, that means we are hoping to go through tech inspection on the salt this Sunday and run for the first time at some point later in the week. We probably won't have access to course 1 (the fastest course) on Monday, but things are looking better for courses 2 and 3, so other participants will get a chance to dial things in there and we can make some judgements about the quality of the salt.
Obviously, this is a very frustrating situation, especially given the four years of work that it has taken us to get here. That said, we are upbeat and optimistic, and will continue to keep you informed as Speed Week progresses. Mother nature gave us the salt, so she can get it a little wet if she wants to. More news to come!