speed way

Bonneville Speedway

Bonneville Speedway is an area of the Bonneville Salt Flats near Wendover, Utah, that is marked out for motor sports. It is particularly noted as the venue for numerous land speed records.

The salt flats were first used for motor sports in 1912, but didn't become truly popular until the 1930s when the Ab Jenkins and Sir Malcolm Campbell competed to set land speed records.

The speedway is marked out by the Utah State Highway Department at the start of each summer. Usually two tracks are prepared; a 10 mile long straightway for speed trials and an oval or circular track for distance runs, which is typically between 10 and 12 miles (16 and 19 km) long depending on the condition of the salt surface. In recent years, there has also been a 5 mile (8 km) long straightway for qualifying slower vehicles.

The straightway is marked with a broad black line down its centre and has several measured mile sections after the second mile. Additional marks and cones indicate the end of the track and the position of timing equipment on the measured mile.

Events and meetings

Each year in August, the Southern California Timing Association and Bonneville Nationals Inc. organize a Speed Week, which attracts several hundred drivers who compete to set highest speed in a range of categories.

A similar event in September each year is the World of Speed, organized by the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association. The USFRA also meet on the first Wednesday of each month throughout the summer.

Land speed records

Numerous land speed records in a various categories and classes of vehicle have been set on the Bonneville speed way. In 1960, Mickey Thompson became the first American to break the 400 mph (644 km/h) barrier hitting 406.60 mph (654.36 km/h) surpassing John Cobb's 1947 one-way Land speed record of 403 mph (649 km/h). Other notable examples of speed records are;

Year Driver Vehicle Speed mph Speed km/h
1935 Sir Malcolm Campbell Bluebird 301.129 484.620
1947 Don Waite The Edelbrock Special 192 309
1963 Craig Breedlove Spirit of America 407.447 655.722
1964 Art Arfons The Green Monster 434.022 664.694
1965 Craig Breedlove Spirit of America - Sonic 1 600.601 966.574
1970 Gary Gabelich Blue Flame 622.407 1001.67

See also


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