It’s a Newww Traaack Recorrrrd!

» Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Current projects and Tech Notes | 4 comments

It’s a Newww Traaack Recorrrrd!

It’s a rare thrill to drive an ultra-high-performance exotic car car up to its top speed. It’s something altogether different to maintain that insane speed for any length of time, and it takes absolute confidence in yourself, the car, and the road to blaze down 90 miles of public highway while holding high warp speed. Only very rare circumstances allow anyone to attempt that without the guarantee of jail time: nobody outruns police radios.

The Silver State Classic Challenge provides that opportunity, but only to highly experienced and qualified competitors. In addition to the thrill of the attempt, the Silver State is a very special event because it offers unlimited-class competitors the chance to take two Guinness World Records home with them. The records are for the world’s fastest road race, and the world’s fastest speed on a public highway. Many have tried, many times over, to beat Chuck Schafer’s 207.78 mph average speed record on the 90 miles of Nevada Highway 318 between Ely and Hiko. That record was set in May 2000, so it stood for 12 long years.

Jim Peruto completely demolished both records on May 20, 2012.

I introduced you to Jim here along with his massive-overkill Hells Charger project. Driving a somewhat modified ex-Kurt Busch NASCAR Dodge Charger superspeedway car, Jim maintained an average speed of 217.557 mph and blew through the speed trap at 243.7 mph. Here is what his car looked and sounded like from the sidelines. Warning: NSFW comments. The Doppler shift at 240 mph is a full octave: listen carefully and you will hear it.

Now that‘s a road rocket!

Both of those numbers are stunning achievements that Jim earned by approaching the challenge in exactly the right way. He started with a logical, practical approach, he worked his way toward his goal in a spectacularly patient, multi-year quest, he learned the right lessons each step along the way, he applied those lessons correctly to each successive attempt, he maintained a clear focus on safety as the highest priority, and he developed the driving skills required to maintain control and composure at speeds that very few racers will ever experience. Congratulations, Jim! Well done. This is an excellent example for anyone to follow.

OK, so what’s the plan for Hells Charger, now that Jim has the Guinness records for open road racing? Jim thinks that its calculated top speed of 349 mph is way too fast for Highway 318, and I’m sure he is right. There is one intruiging possibility out there: the world closed course speed record. The current holder is AJ Foyt, driving the Oldsmobile Aerotech at the Firestone test track in Fort Stockton, TX. That record is 257.123 mph. Is that record within reach?


  1. Awesome write-up and huge congrats to Jim and Neil. PLEASE go for AJs record, I’ll come crew for sure!!


  2. A closed course record in Texas served up with a little Muleshoe Texas Salsa sounds like the ticket! Volunteer crew ready here.

    Congrats to Jim and Neil – a great accomplishment.

  3. Neil. Thanks for the overkind article. You forgot to mention that you had a significant amount of input with regard to both aero and suspension modifications. I called upon you years ago to help me to be both fast and safe. You have served both goals well.

    The closed course record may be a worthy new goal. I will need to find out more about it.

    Lee. Thanks for your recognition. As a Bonneville multi record setter you know what was involved and how many things can go wrong. I join you in acknowledging the many people who made things go right for me.


  4. Neil-I know both you and Jim Peruto, and congrats to both! That was not a one man job and therefore both Jim, you and others involved deserve a ton of recognition because breaking a world record is definitely not easy. Jim is a great dude, and we would like to see him go after A.J.’s record. A.J. is also another great racing guy. He could race anything.