The Houston Half Mile may be a new event, but the concept is tried and true: for a modest fee, you get to run your car to top speed down a relatively safe and wide airport runway.

While some events, like the Texas Mile, allow you to keep the accelerator to the floor mat for a full mile, the Houston event is only a half-mile in distance.

Given the fact that the runway used at Ellington Airport is some 8,000 feet in length, that should allow for plenty of run-off room.

While no formal driver training is required to participate, the event is serious about safety. Cars fall into one of two classes: D1 is for cars with a top speed up to 165 mph, while D2 is for cars capable of top speeds higher than that.

In the D1 class, drivers must wear long-sleeve cotton shirts and pants, although a Nomex suit is recommended. Motorcycle helmets are allowed, but only if used with a Nomex head sock, and all vehicles must have a fire extinguisher within reach of the driver.

In D2, a Nomex driving suit is required, and both a fire suppression system and a competition roll cage are recommended. There are minimum tire requirements for both classes, and participants can expect a safety inspection before being allowed on track. Bad things happen when components fail at over 150 mph.

To build excitement for the event, John Hennessey took a recon pass in a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG roadster, hitting 147 mph. He then strapped in to the passenger seat of a Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 owned by Houston Texan (and big-time car guy) Mario Williams, which hit 167 mph in the half mile.

If you’re located near Houston and want to run in the event, scheduled for May 12th, head on over to the Houston Half Mile website for full details.

John Hennessey in the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

Mario Williams in the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4