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BAR hit 415 km/h in California 07 Nov 2005

Alan van der Merwe (RSA) BAR Development Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, 2 September 2005

BAR have unofficially broken the 400 km/h barrier during their preparations for a Formula One land-speed record attempt, now scheduled for Bonneville early next year.

After rains at the famous Salt Flats in Utah washed out the team's plans to set a new standard in 2005, a final shakedown was organised at the Mojave airbase in California.

During this test, South African Alan van der Merwe, bettered the 400 km/h mark no fewer three times, with a best of 415 km/h, almost 258 mph. The car was a specially, prepared, but still race legal, version of this year’s 007 machine.

“The car ran perfectly,” reported BAR technical chief Gary Savage. “It was an encouraging day and we are confident that we can achieve this speed and more at Bonneville.”

The Mojave outing was not without its problems, as side winds of up to 60 knots sent dust and tumbleweed across the airport’s three-kilometre tarmac runway.

The team must now wait until next spring - probably late May or early June - to make an official attempt at Bonneville when conditions at the Salt Flats improve.