For most car drivers, reaching 100 mph is unlikely; 200 mph is a barely attainable dream. For drag racers, 300 mph is the Holy Grail. For one team, however, 300 mph is a serious goal: reach it and a Connecticut family will donate to the charity Autism Speaks.
The team is comprised of Bob Dauernheim, owner and constructor of Team 608, a Connecticut-based amateur race team that raises money for charity. It’ll be racing a custom-made lakester open-wheel racer in this year’s Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Flats between August 13 and 19 in Utah.
The lakester has had its gauntlet set by the Kend family in Darien, Connecticut: reach 300 mph while timing at Bonneville and they’ll make a $5000 contribution to autism-awareness charity Autism Speaks. It’ll also thrust driver Don Biglow into Bonneville’s elite 300 MPH Club.
The goal should prove to be a challenge: two years ago at Bonneville Speed Week, Team 608 set the AA/GL record at 290.49 mph and then hit an aerodynamic wall at 297 mph. Since then, it has redesigned and rebuilt the car with more aerodynamics in mind -- and more speed.
Underneath those aerodynamic mods is something else tuned with speed in mind: a naturally aspirated 582-cubic-inch big-block engine pumping out 1150 hp on 114-octane racing gas.
If the aerodynamic modifications and massive engine do work, it could trigger the 300-mph donation. But there’s one more challenge for Team 608: because the lakester runs in the Special Construction Unblown Gas Lakester (AA/GL) category, it must surpass 314.511 mph to break the standing record set during last year’s Speed Week.
Since 2006, Team 608 has raised about $100,000 for charity by racing at Bonneville, so let’s hope they’ll be able to make it $105,000 in two weeks.