Who knew a World Speed Record set all the way back in 1906 at the Daytona Beach Road Course would be such a tough nut to crack? We've been following the British Steam Car Challenge and its team of would-be record setters for the last couple of years, so the thought of waiting another month for the crew's first official record attempt should be no problem at all.

According to team manager Matt Candy, the 25-foot steam-powered racer has so far managed a top speed of 77 miles per hour in testing here in the States. The next run was to be the first high-speed attempt, but it was aborted at the last second due to a faulty gas pump. Apparently, a bypass valve had been open during a large portion of the run, which also kept the machine down on overall power.

Fortunately, the team remains undaunted. A post-run software analysis proved the so-called "fastest kettle in the world" was able to put out more than enough steam to hit the stated goal of 170 miles per hour. If the car can hold together long enough, a record may still be in the offing. Check back in late August for the results.

[Source: British Steam Car Challenge]


The British Steam Car Team carries out successful runs but delay World Record Attempt

After numerous technical problems, the British Steam Car team successfully carried out its first test run on US soil, yesterday. The team has been working tirelessly to get the car ready for the record attempts to break the century-old world land speed record for steam-powered vehicles.

The team was in position by 7.00am ready for their first run. Test Driver Don Wales was strapped into the 25ft-long car that he has nicknamed "the lean, green, mean machine" – because of the technical issues the team has had to overcome. The goal was to replicate the test programme that took place in April at Thorney Island. The throttle lag was approx 5-7 seconds but it seemed longer as the vehicle accelerated slowly away.

Project Manager Matt Candy said: "We reached 77mph over a very short distance of just 1km which was comparable to our tests at Thorney. We were due to do a high speed return run but the gas rig had trouble refueling and so we had to abort it. We will replace this gas pump tomorrow and resume the testing programme. The software has since confirmed that the vehicle produced more steam on the test run than in the UK, a bypass valve was open for approximately 1/5 of the test and the majority of the steam was wasted. This can be rectified, and knowing that it not performing to its full capacity is really encouraging news, as we can utilize the steam to generate more power than we thought we had.

Despite the successful test run, the team has taken the decision to delay the record attempt to the week commencing 17th August. Candy continued "It's important that the technical issues with the support rigs are resolved before an attempt is made, and these things can't be rushed. In addition, the FIA officials have to leave on the 4th August to attend Bonneville Speedweek. However the FIA are free from the 17th August after they have carried out their duties at Bonneville and can join the team at Edwards to calibrate and record the attempts"

The British Steam Car Team hopes to achieve the official FIA Land Speed Record for a steam-powered vehicle. The current official FIA record is 127mph previously set by American, Fred Marriott, driving a Stanley steam car in 1906.

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