19 August 2011

2011 Bonneville Speed Week: Wrapping Up

Simon ready to run on the long course with the streamliners.

This morning Todd discovered that on Simon's last run yesterday evening something in the Silver Bullet engine broke.  The distributor won't turn so 2011 Bonneville Speed Week is over for Mustangs To Go/Landon Speed Racing.

Yesterday all 3 drivers averaged around 198.5 mph with Thierry hitting a top speed of 199.  So close!  Todd kept saying, "We're only half of walking speed away from 200 mph."

So close and still such a great rookie accomplishment - congrats to all!

Thursday sunrise on the flats.

Sweet Chevy Woody.

The Flower of Scotland Streamliner on the long course.

18 August 2011

2011 Bonneville Speed Week: Thursday Afternoon

Thursday 445pm update:  Thierry ran 199 mph but was missing boost so he just missed the 200 mph mark!  Todd was on his way to the pits to get the data about the run and try to solve the boost issue and maybe put on a little taller tire for the next run.

I talked to Thierry this afternoon and the Silver Bullet is back in business after pinpointing a problem with collapsed carburetor floats (brass).  They are not sure how it happened but they are happy to be running again.

All 3 drivers are qualified in the 175 - 200 mph range and one of them hit 189 mph.  As we were speaking Thierry had to rush off for what I believe will be his first attempt at the 200 mph mark. 

Here are the website results from Tuesday (click to enlarge):

2011 Bonneville Speed Week: Thursday Noon

Todd reports that yesterday Thierry was going for the 175 mph mark by mile 2.25 and 199 mph by mile 3 for his final license.  But the car had some issues, either engine or fuel/ignition and he had to back off at 177 mph.

They got the problem pinpointed and Steve Strupp, mechanic for Jack Rogers, sent Todd to Team Jesel who were amazingly helpful and lent Todd necessary parts this morning.  So hopefully by now they are back on the race track pointing towards 200 mph again.

La Bala de Plata Dos.  Photo courtesy of Thierry De Latre du Bosqueu.

17 August 2011

2011 Bonneville Speed Week: Wednesday Mid-Day

BANGshift.com has some great 2011 Bonneville photos:

Friday/Saturday Photos:  http://www.bangshift.com/blog/Bonneville-2011-Galllery-Friday-and-Saturday-on-the-Salt-and-at-the-Cruise.html

Monday/Tuesday Photos:  http://www.bangshift.com/blog/2011-Bonneville-Gallery-Monday-on-the-Salt.html

Simon completed his 175 mph qualifying run, so all 3 have qualified at this speed.

Thierry ran his next qualifying level, going for 175mph by 2.25 mile mark and 199 mph at 3 mile mark for his final license.  On this run he had an engine or fuel/ignition issue at 177 mph and had to back off (and I'm assuming didn't make his qualification).  I hope to learn more later.

Todd says Thierry's son is getting good at sitting in line waiting to run and also at packing the parachute after each run.

Photos are from Todd and also Thierry's wife, Annick.

Motobecane racer.

Thierry ready to run.

Simon, Thierry & Bruno

The De Latre family.


16 August 2011

2011 Bonneville Speed Week: Rookie Runs Complete; Thierry hits 175 mph

Todd reports that all three drivers have successfully completed their rookie runs and had fun!  Thierry has just completed his second qualifying run at 175 mph.  I think the exciting part comes next - the approach to 200 mph.  Stay tuned!

I'm pretty sure this is the 1968 Corvette that Todd went to watch last year Bonneville Speed Week.  Good to see them back!  Last year they forgot to latch the removable hard top and lost it during a speed run!

The flying hardtop of 2010, which they were able to repair and continue to run.

2011 Bonneville Speed Week

The reincarnated Silver Bullet, built by Todd Landon / Landon Speed Racing
Photo courtesy of bangshift.com.

Todd is at Bonneville Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.  He rebuilt the Silver Bullet, a 1965 Mustang Fastback, as a land speed car, and he is hoping to crack 200 mph. 

The Silver Bullet was a pedigreed La Carrera Panamericana, Targa Newfoundland and Chihuahua Express competitor before heading to The Flats.  Originally built by Todd Landon, it was piloted by the late Tom Silver and navigated by Dave Fuss.

The Silver Bullet, multiple time class winner at Targa Newfoundland.
Photo courtesy of Fabricio de la Cajiga.
Tom Silver and Dave Fuss after a little mishap at the 2007 Chihuahua Express.  Photo courtesy of Fabricio de la Cajiga.

The Silver Bullet now, #3720 at the Bonneville Salt Flats on 15-Aug-11.

The Silver Bullet is entered on the 2011 Speed Week Pre-Entries as:
     Vehicle = #3720
     Engine = C (Classic Category, '28 - '81 American coupes and sedans)
     Body = CBGALT (classic blown gas altered)
     Entry Name = Mustangs To Go
(More information on how the classes work is at the bottom.)

We have 3 drivers who will take turns at breaking 200 mph:
  • Thierry de Latre du Bosqueau
  • Simon Jefferies
  • Bruno Van Marsenille
Yesterday, Monday, August 15, 2011, the Silver Bullet ran its first qualifying run with Thierry at the wheel.  The required qualifying range was 125-150 mph; Thierry averaged 143.402 starting at mile 2.  Today's qualifying run is required to be between 150-175 mph.

Erik Hansson's Scandinavian Street Rod, a restored drop tank that raced at Bonneville in the 1950's and 1960's.  This belly tank racer has a blown flathead Ford motor producing almost 600 mph and it set a new record in 2009 of 194.744 mph.  Anders Berg, a veteran LCP and ChiX mechanic, is a mechanic on the team but was not able to make it to Bonneville this year.

The Lil Salt T from Denver - I saw this vehicle this spring at the Air Force Academy during a Bonneville presentation to engineering cadets by Land Speed Louise.
More information on the classes and categories:


This category encompasses American coupes and sedans between 1928 and 1981. The classes within this category are intended to provide a venue for coupes and sedans from the "Golden Era" of American Automobile production.

Engine classes allowed are AA, A, B, C, D, E, F

How Do The Classes Work?

Bonneville Speed Week - V=D/T
     Velocity Is Distance Over Time. Bonneville Speed Week Is Velocity Over History.

From the December, 2009 issue of Hot Rod
By David Freiburger
Photography by David Freiburger

Most race classes at Bonneville are broken down by five criteria: body category, aerodynamic modifications to the body, engine size, supercharged or not, and fuel or gas.

The categories are Special Construction (Streamliners with closed wheels and Lakesters with open wheels, neither of which may be based on any production car), Vintage ('23 to '38 roadsters, '48-and-earlier coupes with vintage engines, '48-and-earlier oval-track cars), Classic ('28 to '81 American cars without EFI), Modified (with classes for virtually any year and make of car, including sports cars and pickups), Production (including stock-bodied '28-to-current passenger cars, sports cars, and trucks), and Diesel Truck.

Within the Vintage, Classic, and Modified categories, there are multiple classes divided by aero modifications. In Vintage, a Street Roadster is nearest to stock (it has rear fenders and front headlights), a Roadster is fenderless, and a Modified Roadster or Rear Engine Modified Roadster has a stretched wheelbase and aero mods forward of the cowl. In Modified, the lowest level of aero upgrades is Gas Coupe, which allows a front air dam. Next is Altered, where spoilers and covered grilles and headlights are legal. The next step up in the Modified category is the Competition Coupe class, which allows chopped tops and stretched, aerodynamic noses and bellypans. The Modified Sports and Modified Pick-up classes likewise allow more aero mods than the respective Production-class versions of the same vehicles. In the Production category, cars must be aerodynamically stock. 

Next, each class within these categories allows a certain number of engine variations. Displacements range from AA, which is 500 ci and up, to K, which is 30.99 ci and under. An engine with any kind of supercharger or turbo falls into the Blown classes. The Gas designation is for cars operating on the certified ERC brand gasolines provided at the event. Fuel classes are open to any noncertified fuel, including gasoline, alcohol, nitromethane, or nitrous oxide.

Every entry is required to carry a class designation on its side, and this leads to a confusing alphabet soup for first-timers. Generally, engine displacement comes first, followed by a slash, then a code that describes the induction type, fuel, and body class. For example, a AA/BGS is a Blown Gas Streamliner with an engine above 500 ci. A C/BFRMR is a Blown Fuel Rear-engine Modified Roadster with a C engine, from 306 to 372.99 ci. A D/CGC is a Classic Gas Coupe with a D engine from 261 to 305.99 ci. And a V4F/BVFCC is a Blown Vintage Fuel Competition Coupe with a Vintage four-cylinder Flathead engine. Get it?