Venturi Automobiles and its partner the Center for Automotive Research of the Ohio State University were not able to better its FIA World Land Speed Record for electric vehicles due violent storms. After months of preparation, both parties were confident in exceeding the 495 km/h set by the Venturi VBB-2.5 in 2010. At first a series of storms ruined their optimal preparation at the Bonneville Salt Flats and once the track started to dry, it was shortened by four miles due safety reasons. However, the team didn’t go home empty-handed as a record in the EV category over 3,5 metric tons was set (pending FIA verification).
Venturi had planned to trial the VBB-3 vehicle during the Speedweek from August 9 to 15. But due bad weather conditions – and 25 cm of water on the track – the annual event was cancelled for the first time in 32 years. The team waited for better track conditions as the FIA record attempt was planned after the Speedweek. When the sun came out, they decided to stay to have at least a chance to do their runs. Most of the salt dried on time, but one part remained too wet to drive on. The race director shortened the track distance from 19 to 13 kilometers (12 to 8 miles=, which reduced the acceleration time needed to reach the top speed of the Venturi VBB-3.
Despite being affected by wind and rainstorms, the team performed ten runs and set a new world record in the electric vehicle over 3,5 metric tons category (pending FIA verification). An average speed of 341 km/h (212 mph) and a top speed of 434 km/h (270 mph) was reached, just 61 km/h (38 mph) short to the record set in 2010 but now on a shorter track. It was a decent reward for the hard work that was done, but Venturi travelled to Bonneville with a realistic 600 km/h in mind.
“Despite the circumstances, the very first tests with the new vehicle were very valuable, giving us plenty of data for the various systems like the powertrain, suspensions and batteries. It proved that the car has been well designed, guaranteeing the achievement of new standards in terms of very high speed,” knew Nicolas Mauduit, Program Director at Venturi Automobiles.
“In this remarkable period of time when the weather played on our nerves, the team showed its considerable resources, and its firm, unwavering commitment,” saw Delphine Biscaye, VBB-3 Project Manager at Venturi Automobiles.”We have learned a great deal during our runs. With a relatively new vehicle it is important to cycle through the test series, to ensure safety and to improve our understanding of the car,” said driver Roger Schroer. He is confident that the record will be bettered during a next attempt. “We achieved our goal of implementing four-wheel-drive, and demonstrated that we can achieve a rate of acceleration necessary in 2015 to reach speeds surpassing the 495 km/h (307 mph) of the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2.5.”
A new FIA electric vehicle land speed record attempt is likely for 2015. “We will be back on Bonneville Salt Flats in 2015,” said Gildo Pallanca Pastor, President of Venturi. “The programme for the Venturi VBB-3 is ambitious. The potential we tested on this car and the time we waited have multiplied our motivation and our willingness to accomplish an unprecedented performance for an electric vehicle.”
Venturi is now preparing for the inaugural Formula E ePrix, a new electric racing series which will start in the streets of Beijing on 13 September. Former F1 star Nick Heidfeld and endurance specialist Stéphane Sarrazin will pilot the cars.