TOP 1 Oil World Land Speed Shootout Preview

The elite of speed

Of all the forms of competition built around the internal combustion engine, perhaps none evoke the mystery, the surrealism, or the intense individualism as that of land-speed records. And no other venue of speed holds the legend of Bonneville. The Bonneville Salt Flats possess a mythical aura, built over decades with myriad runs by men and women who have piloted machines down the famous measured mile – which is marked by a solitary black line painted on the surface – with the sole purpose of obtaining speed.

Catering to man’s obsessive quest to outdo themselves, during the week of September 22-26 the famous salt flats will welcome the inaugural TOP 1 Oil World Land Speed Shootout. The event is the first of its kind, representing a single competition reserved strictly for professional land-speed competitors to decide the fastest piston-driven cars and motorcycles on the planet.

The Ack Attack streamliner is sponsored by TOP 1 Oils.
Looking like a missile apparently has its advantages.

Traditionally, events on the salt have been in the vein of the famous Speed Week with a “run what ya’ brung” approach, resulting in long entry lists featuring a plethora of amateur racers and a lot of whacky contraptions. Granted, though the loose regulations might be entertaining, it can prove to be a study in patience. Also, due to time constraints it hasn’t been feasible to set official records (which require doing a run in each direction, with the two times averaged out for official scoring). What this has meant is that the serious contenders for land-speed records have tended to run privately.

In contrast, the TOP 1 Oil World Land Speed Shootout will bring together a maximum of ten teams; five automobile and five motorcycle, for a week’s worth of top-level, premiere speed runs. The event has garnered the stamp of the leading international sanctioning bodies, the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) and the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme). To be eligible, vehicles must be wheel-driven, have either set or come close to setting recent land-speed records in their respective classes, and must conform to FIA/FIM safety and technical rules. At the end of the event, one motorcycle and one car will walk away with the claim of being the fastest in the world. Their efforts will be documented by The Discovery Channel for future broadcast.

As a preview for the TOP 1 Oil World Land Speed Shootout, World Class Motoring in Agoura Hills, California – a gearhead hangout for devout car and motorcycle enthusiasts – played host with an open house September 10 (during one of their regular Wednesday night gatherings, which are always open to the public), allowing several participating teams to showcase the vehicles they’re taking to Bonneville.

World Class Motoring provided the venue to increase awareness about the upcoming event and also to help the participants demystify the very unique, somewhat enigmatic world of pursuing land-speed records. The enthusiastic crowd was able to get up close and personal with some of the machines and people who participate in this dynamic realm of speed. On display was Ack Attack, a turbocharged, twin Hayabusa-powered streamliner (producing 1100 hp) that holds a world motorcycle land-speed record of 342.797 mph (Chris Carr currently holds the world record at 350 mph). In recent tests Ack Attack has touched 349 mph with plenty of reserve yet to be tapped. Come the week of September 22nd, Bonneville will come alive with the familiar sound of speed as the world’s elite of speed take to the salt.

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