Electric Bluebird Flies Again with Don Wales
November 17, 2010
Don Wales holder of the UK Land Speed Record for an electric car, who is the nephew of Donald Campbell – another famous record breaker, announced earlier this that he will attempt to break his own electric record and exceed the outright record set by his grandfather, Sir Malcolm Campbell, in 1925 in the early spring of 2011.
Don Wales has clearly inherited the quest for speed. In May this year he twice broke the world land speed record for a lawnmower leaving it at 87.833mph. He also holds the world record for a steam powered car (148mph) as a member of Charles Burnett III’s British Steam car team at Edwards Airforce base in August 2009.
Speaking after successfully completing the RAC Brighton to London Future Car Challenge in a hybrid car, Wales said: “I have held the record for over ten years and it’s now looking very vulnerable. I want to set the UK record well beyond 150mph – the speed Sir Malcolm clocked in 1925. Ideally, I’d like to match his record of 1927 – 175mph.”
The attempt is part of the Campbell family celebration year of the centenary of Sir Malcolm Campbell first christening a car Bluebird at Brooklands in 1911.
Don Wales and the Bluebird Electric Team set the current record of 139mph in August 2000 on Pendine Sands, Wales. They will return to Pendine Sands in the spring of 2011 – the venue for Sir Malcolm’s successful land speed record attempts in the 1920s.
Wales also has plans to attempt a new world land speed record for a battery car and has his sights set on 500mph, and is currently evaluating several design options. He says: “At last the world is making real progress with electric vehicles as a viable alternative to the internal combustion engine. Ten years ago electric vehicles were unheard of in the news, and people couldn’t understand the importance of electric car technology. Now there’s a whole new generation of electric road cars in production. The UK is a world leader in automotive technology, particularly in the cutting edge and highly competitive field of motor sport, and Land speed record projects have a history of boosting technological developments which is why I’m planning a world beating battery car”.
Project Director Martin Rees said “Don’s ambition to be the fastest in the world is a goal we are all working hard to achieve and his recent speed record breaking exploits, and those we achieved in the electric Bluebird ten years ago, are testament to his undoubted dedication and commitment to excellence”. Rees added, “Taking the car back to Pendine next spring with improved drive and bodywork will be another chapter in the Campbell and Wales and Pendine story.”
• 25 September 1924 – 146.16 mph
• 21 July 1925 – 150.766mph
• 4 February 1927 – 174.88mph.
• He achieved 301.12mph in 1935 on the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah.
His son, Donald, continued the record breaking tradition and broke the 400mph barrier in a turbine powered Bluebird.
Don Wales holds a World Land Speed Record, two American National Records and eight UK records.
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