British Steam Car Team still on track

Despite the untimely death of project manager Frank Swanston from lung cancer, the British Steam Car Challenge is still on for a record attempt at the Bonneville Salt Flats in August of this year. Before assaulting the World Record, the British team will first tackle the standing record in their home country. Set on July 3, 1938, the British record stands at 126 miles per hour. That's just under the official World Record, which was set in 1906 by Fred Marriott, who drove a modified Stanley Steamer to 127.659 miles per hour.

With their extremely aerodynamic steamer, the British Steam Car Team shouldn't have too much trouble setting a new record later this year. In fact, the team is hoping to break the 200 mile per hour mark. After their historic run is completed, the vehicle is to be placed on permanent display at the National Motor Museum Trust at Beaulieu.


Press Release:

The project to secure the world steam car speed record is on track, with everything focused on the record attempt at Bonneville Salt Flats, USA in August 2008. This will follow the unveiling of the British Steam Car at the 60th Bonneville Speed Week from 18 to 24 August.

Having overcome numerous challenges and setbacks in the past eight years, the British Steam Car Team has demonstrated remarkable resolve and fortitude – in true British Bulldog fashion. This is by no means a lavishly funded project and most of the work developing and building the car has been undertaken in a modest wooden workshop at Lymington in the New Forest.

Project manager, Frank Swanson, who sadly died in 2007, instigated much of the engineering groundwork. Since then, the British Steam Car Team has regrouped and was boosted by the recruitment of Don Wales as test driver. Wales is the nephew of the late Donald Campbell and grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell – who between them established more than 20 land and water speed records. Wales himself set an electric vehicle land speed record in Bluebird Electric in 2000. At Bonneville, the British Steam Car will be housed in the same hangar used by the Campbells for their record attempts.

The British Steam Car Team was started when Lord Montagu of Beaulieu saw a project undertaken by students at Southampton University. His nephew, Charles Burnett III, was inspired by the proposed steam powered record car and assembled the British Steam Car Team. Charles Burnett III will be the principle driver of the steam car and has previously achieved several land and water world records.

Before attempting the world steam car speed record, the British Steam Car Team expects to secure the British steam car record at Elvington, near York, during early July. It is 70 years ago (3 July 1938) that the last famous British steam powered vehicle secured a world record when the Mallard steam train reached 126mph. It is also 40 years since the end of mainline steam on British railways – an anniversary being celebrated by the National Railway Museum at York in May.

The British Steam Car Team schedule is as follows:

1. During May, final testing at Thorney Island, Portsmouth with a media launch
2. Early July, British steam car speed record attempts at Elvington, near York
3. Mid July, despatch of British Steam Car to the USA
4. 18 to 24 August, official unveiling and preparatory testing at Bonneville Speed Week with test driver, Don Wales
5. From 25 August, world steam car speed record attempts at Bonneville Salt Flats by Charles Burnett III
6. September return of British Steam Car to UK and then on permanent display at National Motor Museum Trust at Beaulieu

Monthly updates are available at (which includes profiles of team members and technical specifications for the British Steam Car

There is still plenty of time for members of the public to become involved with and support the British Steam Car Team. The official website, www.steamcar.couk include a link to a special Pound a Pixel website. Here, individuals and companies can buy space on the site and will get their names on the car for just £1.
[Source: British Steam Car Team]

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