Project 240SX Land Speed Racer: Flat out on the Bonneville Salt Flats
By Chuck Johnson
Photos by Joe Lu
It’s really easy for people to discredit going fast in a straight line. Hell, I myself have been guilty of snickering at the thought of “run what you brung” night at the drag races. I mean how much skill could it really take to hold a steering wheel straight and mash on the throttle for a ¼ mile? The truth is though, it doesn’t matter if it’s driving in a straight line or around the same damn circle for hours.
Any type of racing requires skill. However, even more so, racing requires balls. And, there is a positive correlation between how fast you go and the size of your balls. Think top fuel dragster. A top fuel dragster is capable of accelerating to 100 MPH in less than a second and traveling the distance of a ¼ mile in less than four seconds, reaching speeds well over 300 MPH. Does that require skill? Yes! How about Balls? Definitely! OK, that’s enough talking about balls for now, let’s get to the point.
By our third day at Speed Week, I had completed all of my licensing passes and was now determined to make an unrestricted attempt at the record. In other words, take Project 240SX LSR as fast as she could possibly go with roughly 330 WHP. At the time, the blown, gas, coupe (BGC) record for a 1.6 to 2.0 liter turbo engine was just a tick over 200 MPH.
I don’t mean to over dramatize things, but I cannot recall ever having a time in my life where I thought to myself, “OK, if shit goes wrong today I could seriously die.” The concern on each member of Team MotoIQ sure wasn’t helping either. Racers like Doug and Miriam MacMillan of Team Hondata, who regularly make passes over 200 MPH, might laugh at this. Keep in mind though, the first time Project 240SX LSR ever started or moved under its own power was just four days previous. Before getting to Bonneville, I had driven Project 240SX LSR a total of 20’ and that was onto the trailer we towed it with. There was simply no time for shake downs runs let alone adding any type of aero to the car.
This is where all that talk about “balls” comes into play. I’m not saying that I have a pair of watermelons harvesting between my legs. What I am saying though is the thousands of dollars, the hundreds of hours of sleep lost, and the efforts of a few dedicated team members all came down to this moment. It was simply time to “sack up.” To see how our top speed pass went, check out the in-car video of Project 240SX Land Speed Racer below.
GTI – Gialamas Technical Innovations, LLC