I have a confession to make… I’ve never really been into drag racing, until recently I’d hadn’t actually seen drag racing in person until I went along to Santa Pod to lend a hand with the 1320 Mini crew. It doesn’t mean I’ve not watched a lot of drag racing on TV or hugely respect the work that goes into building, preparing and racing the cars. I like driving round in circles, there I said it!
Having said all of this once I’d finished the turbo conversion I was just a little bit interested to know just how fast the car would go given enough space, it has run close to 130mph down the back straight at Bedford. When a friend sent me a link to Terminal Velocity (they run events at RAF Woodbridge) I just had to sign up!
RAF Woodbridge was built during the Second World War as an emergency landing strip for damaged bombers returning from Germany, it has a very wide runway! At the Terminal Velocity events you have 1.35 miles to accelerate up to your maximum speed before crossing the line and then about half a mile to brake (which doesn’t seem as long as you think…). The format of the event is very simple, set off in pairs and drive as fast as you dare up to the timing point slow down and repeat as many times as you want.
Unlike my track day earlier in the week conditions where dry and reasonably warm but there was fairly stiff headwind which I’m sure limited the ultimate top speed on the day. Runways are designed with a prevailing wind direction in mind to help take off and landing but this was more than a gentle breeze… Since the event is about the terminal speed and not elapsed time I’d decided not to go for full bore launches (plus I wanted to keep my drive shafts in one piece) so generally took it gently off the line.
My first run was a real voyage into the unknown, the car feels very light at the top end of the runway and there are a few small lumps/bumps which feel quite dramatic at well over 100mph. I had not idea what speed I’d actually achieved on my first run as I was just staring straight ahead and not looking at the dash! When I checked back at the marquee I’d managed 151mph which I was pretty happy with! All of my runs on the day were faster than that with my highest speed being 157mph and I recorded that twice in a row. With the wind not looking like it was going to ease off I decided that 6 runs would be enough (only seemed to get 5 recorded speeds…). Before I consider a return I think the car definitely needs more aero to make it more stable.
Video below of all 6 runs:
Will update the post when the official results are published.