British Steam Car Arrives in Los Angeles in Preparation for its
World Land Speed Record Attempt.
The British Steam Car arrived yesterday (5.00pm GMT) at Long Beach Port, Los Angeles in preparation for its World Land Speed Record Attempt. The vehicle departed Felixstowe last month via the Panama Canal on route to California. The team has since been granted its entry license to Edward’s Air Force Base for the attempt to officially take place and the FIA confirmed. The team will commence further testing and subsequent attempts from 10th – 24th July 2009.
The primary aim of British Steam Car project is to establish an FIA sanctioned Land Speed Record and break the 103-year-old FIA record of 127mph achieved by American, Fred Marriott, driving a Stanley steam car in 1906. The FIA is the sanctioning body and now recognizes a land speed record as the average speed of two passes made across the same measured distance in opposing directions within 60 minutes of each other. The time of the two runs is then averaged to obtain the official recorded speed. While the mile in which the attempt is being made cannot move during the attempt, there is no limit to the runup or braking distance for the vehicle as well or location that the event must take place.
The team acknowledges the achievements of the "Barber-Nichols Team". Their vehicle 'Steamin' Demon' is currently the fastest steam car in the world. In 1985 The Barber-Nichols Team carried out three successful passes and achieved an American National Record at 145.607mph. There was no attempt to establish an FIA record. However, the British Steam Car Challenge recognizes this speed as the record to exceed.
From its inception, the British Steam Car was designed to achieve an FIA record. This is reflected in many of the design decisions and also greatly affects our choice of venue.
The British Steam Car has fixed gearing between the turbine and the wheels. When the car starts it is in top gear and only manages to pull away because of the incredible torque available from a steam turbine. Weighing 3 tons and starting in top gear means that the car accelerates very slowly toward its top speed. The team need a minimum of 6 miles to make the record attempt, 2.5 miles to accelerate, measure 1mile then decelerate for 2.5 miles, to allow room to accelerate on the return run so, for the record attempt, we required six miles of smooth, flat ( less than 1% gradient) which immediately preclude a record attempt in the UK.
Matt Candy says: "There are no runways or man-made flat surfaces six miles long - it has to be a natural feature. Beaches, lake beds or salt flats are often chosen for speed record attempts, including the well-known Bonneville Salt Flats. "We have chosen Rogers Dry Lake Bed in southern California as our venue for the record attempt, as it is a suitable surface with sufficient length. Rogers Dry Lake Bed is within the huge 308,000-acre Edward's Airforce Base site and is where the Space Shuttle lands if conditions in Florida are unsuitable. It is steeped in aviation history, and there has never been an official FIA land speed record achieved on site.
"It has another advantage for us - low altitude. Being only 2300 feet above sea level, the air at Rogers Dry Lake Bed is denser than at higher altitudes providing more oxygen for the car's burners"
Unfortunately as Edwards is an active top secure military base, people are unable to turn up to watch the attempts take place. However we will ensure that you receive team news as it unfolds. Publicist Rebecca Nicholls will be on site during the attempts and can organise interviews with team members, please contact the office details below. High quality pictures will be available from The Press Association.
The British Steam Car team would like to thank all its friends, sponsors and supporters that have made such a valuable contribution to the project.