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Bonneville Test & Tune Day 3

Great news! We hit 317mph on our second pass today. We experienced no issues with the car and successfully gathered all the data we needed for the upcoming SCTA and FIA events later this year. Given today’s positive results, we’ve decided to forgo additional runs and return early. We’re not sure how much more we can learn on the 3-mile track and want to preserve the engines for the longer courses at Speed Week and Cook’s. 

Although the test exceeded our expectations, we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Our engine team is going to work on hopping up our existing setup in order to generate more horsepower and faster acceleration. I personally will be making some modifications to the cockpit and safety equipment setup. As always, we’ll be tweaking our traction formulas in search of the least possible wheel slip. 

A huge thank you to my kick-ass team, our amazing sponsors, and all of you following along and supporting THOMPSONLSR and the Challenger II. To those of you still testing, be safe and have fun. It's been great getting to see and meet some of you in person. I consider competing with you a privilege. 

Below, you'll find a list of the people I'd like to thank (if I forgot you, please let me know, I'm old), plus lots of cool pictures and videos of our third day on the salt. Thanks for coming along for the ride! Lots more ahead. 

  • Blake Rutherford
  • Cherico Brown
  • Craig Johnson
  • Dan Warner
  • Dave Armstrong
  • Donnie Cummins
  • Eddie Marlen
  • Eric Hoenig
  • Frank Hanrahan
  • Holly Martin
  • Jason Brown
  • Jerry Darien
  • Judy Creach
  • Larry Baird
  • Lou Anderson
  • Martin Menne
  • Matt Holmes
  • Melanie McGuire
  • Mike Brauer
  • Mike Cook
  • Mike Cook Jr.
  • Mike McGuire
  • Peter DeLory
  • Peter Vincent
  • Reid Rutherford
  • Richard Catton
  • Richard Rohrdanz
  • Robert Johnson
  • Terry Hegman
  • Tim Gibson
  • Tommy Roberts
  • Valerie Thompson
  • Warren Baird




Bonneville Test & Tune Day 2

We got to run the car on the salt today, and I can't describe how cool it was. We made a clean 246mph checkout pass early this morning. We have lots of these slower tests to look forward to as we work our way up the safety certification stairway and gather performance data about the car. I'm pleased to say that both engines started immediately and warmed well. The nose did not demonstrate any notable lift during the run, and our RacePak data acquisition systems performed flawlessly. We've been working on the car for four years, but it's all been largely theoretical. Getting to actually run and find out whether we've been making the right decisions has been an amazing opportunity. 

We prepped the car for a second test later in the day, but the wind speed started fluctuating between 10-15mph, so we decided to cancel. We'll be back out again early tomorrow morning, so I look forward to bringing you more of the latest then! Hopefully we'll be able to get some video up soon. The Wi-Fi at the hotel is pretty abysmal though, so in the meantime, please enjoy some photos by Holly and Peter Vincent. 



Bonneville Test & Tune Day 1

It took 46 years, but the Challenger II has finally returned to Bonneville! My crew and I are here for the 2014 USFRA Test and Tune. This will be our first opportunity to run the streamliner on the salt, and will provide us with the data we need for the upcoming SCTA and FIA events. We will not be attempting any record runs during the Test and Tune. 

That said, it's absolutely bitching to be here. Most of the morning was taken up by the official tech inspection of the car. I also had to do a bailout test with the canopy down. For those of you that haven't attended an event, that basically involved an USFRA official screaming "fire" very convincingly while I scrambled out of my belts, HANS device, and cockpit as quickly as possible. I've practiced that particular move a few times over the years though, so it all went pretty smoothly. 

The latter half of the day was all about capturing images of the car with the help of our amazing photographers Holly Martin and Peter Vincent. Unfortunately, the weather chose not to cooperate, so our golden hour became dark clouds and light showers. That's okay though, because in my opinion, the car looks damn good rain or shine.

Tomorrow will be the first day that we get to run, so we'll have a chance to learn whether the last four years of work have been leading us in the right direction. I can't wait!