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Honda hit 400 km/h at Bonneville 20 Jul 2006

Alan van der Merwe, Honda 007, Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, USA. © Honda Racing

Honda have achieved their declared target speed of 400 km/h across a measured mile at the Bonneville International Speedway in Utah. On the team's third day of running, driver Alan van der Merwe clocked a speed of 400.450 km/h (248.828 mph) at 0721 hours local time in his race legal Honda 007.

However the time will not be recorded as an official land speed record because the team were unable to match the same top speed on the return leg of the journey. The slower second leg reduced the aggregate speed over both runs to 393.613 km/h (244.580 mph).

Even so, the speed reached did convincingly improve on the team’s previous record - set on Monday - of 354.974 km/h (220.571 mph) and the team were overjoyed that Thursday’s run proved that the target of 400 km/h is possible.

“Having finally reached 400 km/h today feels great. 400 kph has always been the magical number, and having done it in one direction, it must be possible to do it in both,” said van der Merwe after the team’s success. “We’ll be trying again tomorrow - that’s what it is about now, we just have to squeeze that little bit more from the car and keep pushing.”

The team will make further changes to the car’s gear ratios on Thursday night and return to the salt flats on Friday morning with the aim of replicating Thursday’s top speed over both runs.