Monaco-based performance electric vehicle specialist Venturi Automobiles has just set a new land speed record for an electric vehicle with its purpose-built VBB-3.
Despite challenging track conditions, Venturi and their partner The Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research established a new FIA land speed record with their 3000hp electric car, the Venturi VBB-3 at a one-mile average speed of 240.320 mph (386.757 kph).
The Venturi team was targeting its previous electric FIA World Land Speed Record, set in 2010 with the 700hp Venturi VBB-2.5, which it achieved despite very challenging track conditions at Bonneville, this year marking the third in a row that weather conditions prevented the Bonneville Salt Flats from providing ideal race conditions of a hard and dry track surface.
It wasn’t until late August that the Venturi team was able to set up its headquarters on the Salt Flats in order to make a record attempt, dramatically shortening its schedule. The cancelled SpeedWeek event would have served as a preparation and practice before the FIA world speed record attempt. However, as in 2014, the team instead spent that time waiting for the track to dry and then for the ‘Land Speed Events’ trucks to work around the clock in order to groom the track to remove any bumps and to attempt to have a very steady and flat surface.
The Venturi VBB-3’s driver – Roger Schroer – spent many days learning the track mile-by-mile to be prepared for speed testing, which finally began on August 19th. Despite the waiting period and delayed schedule, the track conditions were not ideal.
A typical track for a world speed record attempt would be 12 miles long. However, due to the previous flooding of the salt, the team had only a 10-mile track to work with and throughout those 10 miles some segments were still partially wet and bumpy with clumps of mud and wet salt. These conditions inevitable led to problems with the vehicle, causing excessive shaking of the VBB-3 and its components, which ultimately disrupted the electrical system.
After careful consideration for the driver’s safety, the Venturi team and its experienced driver decided to make an attempt at the record on August 21st. It was their first and last attempt because on the rebound run, the front cooling system tank was pierced.
Roger Schroer said: ‘In eleven years here I have never driven on such a difficult track. The car was sliding on the surface from one side to the other due to soft spots and bumps, but we went faster than we have ever gone with this car.’