Huge congratulations to the British Steam Car Challenge team, who, on Tuesday 25 August 2009, smashed the land speed record for a steam-powered car, reaching a top speed of 151.085mph.
The team consisted of members of the previous ThrustSSC Project, and initally hoped to reach speeds of 200mph, although the final design may be capable of 'just' 170mph. The average speed over two runs was 139.843mph, finally toppling the previous remarkable record of 127mph by Fred Marriott way back in 1906!
Speaking from Edward's AirForce Base, California, principal driver Charles Burnett III, from Lymington, Hampshire, (who drove both runs) commented:
"It was absolutely fantastic I enjoyed every moment of it. We reached nearly 140mph on the first run. All systems worked perfectly, it was a really good run. The second run went even better and we clocked a speed in excess of 150 mph. The car really did handle beautifully. The team has worked extremely hard over the last 10 years and overcome numerous problems. It is a privilege to be involved with such a talented crew, what we have achieved today is a true testament to British engineering, good teamwork and perseverance”
At 40 bars of pressure, with 400°C steam flowing through 3km of tubing at 40 litres a minute, Mr Burnett is a brave man indeed to drive such a machine. This is a major, and well deserved, achievement, and hearty congratulations go to the whole Team, who have proved yet again the power of steam in the modern age, with the pioneers of the Steam Age still at the frontier of steam technology!