They say lightening never strikes the same place twice, but Venturi are likely to disagree with that statement after the second year of terrible weather hindered their world electric land speed record attempt this year. Just as in September 2013 which saw the entire Bonneville salt lake flooded, just as Venturi arrived to make a record attempt, the same thing has happened to the hapless team this year too, with wind and rain so severe that the famous Bonneville Speedweek was cancelled by its organisers, the SCTA, for the first time since 1982.
Not one to give up, Venturi stuck at it this year and waited for the salt to dry. A full 12 days later, parts of the lake were dry enough to prepare for an attempt but sadly much of the track was still submerged, making for a shorter distance than the team would have liked.
The original plan was to have completed all testing during Speedweek, but since this was not possible, the team began testing as soon as an area of track was made available to them. It was already clear their existing record would stay intact, but with the new VBB-3 (Venturi Buckeye Bullet) it was at the very least an opportunity to stretch the legs of the four wheel drive electric car.
However, with the odds stacked against them, the Venturi and Ohio State University team had a four day window of opportunity with which to run the car for the first time at Bonneville. The track length was reduced from 12 miles to just 8, a big problem with regards to acceleration for the VBB-3 since it requires 5.5 miles to accelerate to its theoretical top speed.
After a lot of work and a huge effort from the student run team, the car and driver, Roger Schroer, were ready to do some fast runs. Able to make a mere 10 runs, the VBB-3 managed to set a world record despite the weather turning once again and flooding parts of the track.
The new World Record set by the team is a top speed of 270mph with an average of 212mph in the class of Electric Vehicle over 3,500 kilos. Although not the record the team were after, it was at the very least a consolation and an added incentive to return to The Salt in 2015 to finish what they have started.
The VBB-3 project has been jointly run by Venturi and the Ohio State University which uses the project to help educate its students. Venturi supply the electric motors, while the rest of the car is designed and built by the student team in America. The theoretical top speed of the car, in its current guise, is more than 400mph – a clear sign the team mean business and will not be content with their 270mph top speed and class record.
AutoVolt Magazine followed this exciting story as it developed and have spoken to both the team and driver to bring an exclusive article in our next issue of the magazine, out 5th September. To subscribe to AutoVolt, please follow these links: Digital: http://goo.gl/8uVYn0 Print: http://goo.gl/Ihxb1J
Source; Venturi Automobiles Photo credit, Venturi Automobiles/Denis Boussard.