After more than eight years of development, the British Steam Car Team has finally broken the world speed record for a steam-powered car--a record that has stood since 1906. The new record setting run was completed in the Mojave Desert in California this week, with the latest steam car achieving an average speed of 139.843 mph--easily smashing the previous record of 127 mph. Today a video of the feat has become available via the Telegraph.
To have the record ratified by the FIA, the Hampshire-based team had to finish two runs in opposite directions, less than an hour apart. It reached a peak speed of 136.103 mph on the first run and 151.085 mph on the second.
The layout of the steam car shares many characteristics with regular production vehicles. It’s a rear wheel powered, rear engine vehicle that has a traditional rack and pinion front wheel steering system. The braking system consists of four wheel discs (parachute assisted) and there is double wishbone independent suspension at all four corners.
Power comes from a two stage steam turbine fed by a boiler running on LPG and developing a peak of 360 horsepower. The 13 inch diameter turbine drives an epicyclical gear train with a 4:1 ratio for a wheel speed of 3,000 rpm at 200 mph. The boiler section is in the center of the car directly behind the single seat cockpit. For space reasons, there are actually four separate boilers each capable of being run independently.