London, August 26 (ANI): A British-built car has broken the land speed record for steam-powered cars for the first time in more than 100 years, after it achieved an average speed of 225 kilometres per hour.
According to a report in New Scientist, Charles Burnett III has reached speeds of 219 km/hr (136 mph) and 243 km/hr (151 mph) during two drives at California’s Edwards Air Force Base.
That smashes the previous official record of 204 km/hr (127 mph) set in 1906 by Fred Marriott of the US in a modified version of the then-popular steam car known as the Stanley Steamer.
Officials from motor sport’s governing body, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), are expected to ratify the new record shortly.
Burnett drove a 7.6-metre-long, 3-tonne car called “Inspiration” that grew out of a 1997 student project at Southampton University.
The car’s engine burns liquid petroleum gas to heat water in 12 suitcase-sized boilers, creating steam heated to 400 degrees Celsius.
The steam then drives a two-stage turbine that spins at 13,000 revolutions per minute to power its wheels.
The FIA requires two 1.6-km-long runs to be performed in opposite directions – to cancel out any effect from wind – within 60 minutes.
Inspiration made the first run on August 25 and turned around for the return run with just eight minutes to spare.
Before and after each timed run, it took 4 km to accelerate and another 4 km to slow down.
The record-setting drives came after several earlier attempts had been thwarted by electrical faults, valve problems, a storm and a tyre puncture the previous week.
But, the team is planning another run today, to try to get even closer to the car’s theoretical top speed of 274 km/hr (170 mph). (ANI)