204.185mph in an electric car – a new world land speed record – autocar.co.uk

204.185mph in an electric car – a new world land speed record – autocar.co.uk


Yorkshire: it may not be the most obvious
place to go chasing speed records, but this is Elvington Airfield, home to a 2-mile landing
strip that was once converted for emergency space shuttle landings. The goal for Drayson Racing and its driver,
Lord Paul Drayson, was to break the 200 mile an hour barrier in a converted Le Mans prototype
racer, and in doing so, break a record for sub-thousand kilo electric cars that had stood
for 39 years. It’s really important to us. We’re really
here to try and set this new world record to show what electric vehicle technology can
do, to prove that there is no reason why an electric car can’t do everything an internal
combustion engine can do. We’re here to really break this record. Regulations meant the team would need to run
twice in opposite directions up and down the runway, and all
within an hour. Timing glitches earlier in the day meant that
light was fading fast and the pressure was on. The electric motors deliver 850bhp on tap, and 0-to-60mph is dispatched in just 3 seconds; 0-to-100 in 5.1 seconds. With the car shorn of downforce to help it slip through the air, it’s a real
handful as momentum builds. In testing, Drayson had spun at 178mph, but even with the
car bucking wildly as speed builds, he has no such problems today. The first run’s speed is 203.263mph, more
than enough to put the team on track for its record. Now it’s a race against the clock
to cool the motors, top up battery, and get the car ready to run again before the sun
goes down. Lord Drayson: Tell me that’s OK, please. Male 2: Timing says 205. Male 3: 205. Lord Drayson: Fantastic, 205. What’s the average both ways? Male 2: Here we go. Are
you all listening? It’s an average speed of 204.1580 mph. Really brilliant. That was hairy, that last
run. I said to myself at the beginning I was not going to lift off, whatever happened.
Coming up to here, just as I was going past you, the car was moving about so much that
I could hardly see where the beacon was, I could just see where we were on the runway,
and just try to keep it straight, keeping my foot in. Sigh of relief when I went past
that timing beacon and could lift off and hit the brakes. Drayson’s final average was 204.185mph, a
new world record. Having made the headlines, he now plans to evolve some of the technology
he developed for the bit to use in future electric cars.