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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Electric Bluebird to attempt land speed record in 2011

Don Wales - holder of the UK Land Speed Record for an electric car - will attempt to go even faster in a fresh attempt next year.

He will also aim to exceed the land speed record set by his grandfather - Sir Malcolm Campbell - in 1925.

"I have held the record for over 10 years and it's now looking very vulnerable," said Mr Wales. "I want to set the UK record well beyond 150mph, the speed Sir Malcolm clocked in 1925. Ideally I'd like to match his record of 1927 - 175mph."

Don Wales and the Bluebird Electric Team set the current UK electric record of 139mph in August 2000 at Pendine Sands in Wales. Project Director Martin Rees said: "Don's ambition to be the fastest in the world is a goal we are all working hard to achieve and his recent speed record breaking exploits, and those we achieved in the electric Bluebird 10 years ago, are testament to his undoubted dedication and commitment to excellence. Taking the car back to Pendine next Spring with improved drive and bodywork will be another chapter in the Campbell and Wales and Pendine story."

The attempt, at Pendine Sands in Wales (also the venue for Sir Malcolm's successful record attempts in the 1920s) is part of the Campbell family's celebrations of the centenary of Campbell first christening a car Bluebird at the Brooklands racing circuit, in 1911.

Eventually, says Mr Wales, he hopes to go even faster. He plans to attempt a new world land speed record for an electric car with his sights set on 500mph in 2012, and is currently evaluating several design options. His world attempt will take place in a Gulf state or at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the US, where there is a nine-mile course. Pendine offers only four miles, insufficient for an attempt on the world record.

He added: "At last the world is making real progress with electric vehicles as a viable alternative to the internal combustion engine. Ten years ago electric vehicles were unheard of in the news and people couldn't understand the importance of electric car technology. Now there is a whole new generation of electric road cars in production."

Don Wales - the nephew of Donald Campbell - another famous record breaker, appears to have inherited the quest for speed. In May this year he twice broke the world land speed record for a lawnmower, setting it at 87.833mph. He also holds the world record for a steam powered car (148mph) as a member of Charles Burnett III's British Steam car team at Edwards Airforce base, in August 2009.

The World Electric Land Speed Record stands at 321.834 mph set by the same team with the Buckeye Bullet in 2004.


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