Tuesday, June 23, 2009

British Steam Car In Los Angeles For World Land Speed Record Attempt

Following the two runs at Thorney Island on April 1st, the UK test program is now complete. It is a sobering thought that the car now has to go twelve times as far, at double the speed, twice, in one hour to achieve the record. We have much to learn, test and achieve on the lake bed in California. Image Credit: BSCC News

British Steam Car Arrives in Los Angeles in Preparation of its World Land Speed Record Attempt

The British Steam Car arrived this morning (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 car and all the ancillary equipment has been cleaned prepared and packed. The car, 6 support rigs, eight pallets of plastic boxes containing all the spares and essentials, including teabags, have found a home inside our two 40ft containers and the 20ft workshop container. Image Credit: BSCC News

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.

Image Credit: BSCC News

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 car, on its trolley and trailer is a tight fit, but it has gone into the container. Image Credit: BSCC News

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 stem 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, Engineering Administrator/Strategic Planner, BSCC 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.
(ht: Rebecca Nicholls - Director, Eventageous PR Ltd for The British Steam Car Challenge)

The BSCC Team

Several members of the original ThrustSSC team have been brought back together to work on this project. With the previous success of the ThrustSSC team in the desert at Black Rock there is every faith that the project will proceed to set the record at 200 MPH without incident.

There are some additional roles that will have to be cast such as support crew, operations support and general support of the efforts at Thorney Island and Rogers Dry Lake Bed, Edwards Air Force Base. These roles will be partly dependant on the number of sponsors that attend the record attempts.

Driver - Charles Burnett
Test Driver - Don Wales
Engineering Logistics Coordinator - Frank Swanston
Team Coordinator and Administrator - Lynne Angel
Team Administrator - Kirsty Redfern
UK Liaison Officer - Elly Dalby
PR Liaison Officer - Pam Swanston
PR Manager - Rebecca Nicholls
Car Build Technician - Peter Prove
Technician - Clive Hawkins
Technician - Stuart Bailey
Engineering Administrator/Strategic Planner - Matt Candy
Wireman - Peter Dickerson
Electrical, Wiring and Computer Technician - Matthew Warr
Electric and Electronic Technician - Nick Bass
Composite Body Work - Mike Horne
Fabricator & Welder - Chris Yates
Fabricator Technician - Wilbur Day
Student Placement - Adam Tye
Design Draughtsman - Chris Lack
Transport - Nigel Leppard
Newtown Park Estates Manager - Richard Channell
Newtown Park Estates Logistics Manager - Rob Gray
Designer - Glynne Bowsher
Consulting Engineer - Peter Candy
Team Inspiration Chairman - Bill Rich
Webmaster - Martin Swanston

Welcome all from the British Steam Car Challenge to sunny, Southern California. Great success and Godspeed!

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Barber-Nichols Team, British Steam Car Challenge, BSCC, Matt Candy, Rogers Dry Lake Bed, Southern California, The EDJE

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