Riley Technologies Goes Over 300 MPH with Compressed Natural Gas at Bonneville Mooresville, NC (24 September 2008)-- While one Riley Technologies machine was taking yet another Rolex Sports Car Series victory outside of Salt Lake City last week,...
Riley Technologies Goes Over 300 MPH with Compressed Natural Gas at Bonneville
Mooresville, NC (24 September 2008)-- While one Riley Technologies machine was taking yet another Rolex Sports Car Series victory outside of Salt Lake City last week, a completely different kind of Riley-built machine chased the record books at over 300 mph on the other side of the state at the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Driving a Riley Technologies-designed and built Bonneville Streamliner powered by a compressed natural gas motor, Roger Lessman made one pass on the five-mile course recording a speed of 311 miles an hour in pursuit of establishing a new record.
"Most of this kind of racing happens in the garage," said Lessman. "I feel really confident with the car and what it can do. The Riley guys are excellent. It's a great group of people to work with, and the guys are technically excellent in terms of their approach to design and engineering. This is a complicated car and we are breaking new ground with it so it's pretty exciting."
While the 311 mph run was an encouraging outing, it wasn't enough for the record books. The Utah Salt Flats Racing Association-mandated second pass that is required to set a record was cancelled after a systems check revealed a burned piston from the initial run, rendering repairs for the motor too severe for the time allotted by USFRA rules. Despite the setback, the effort is already planning on a return to the Utah desert in 2009.
"Even though we didn't set a record this year, it was still great to do a run at over 300 miles an hour with compressed natural gas. It is a big challenge because there isn't really any place to test, and the window is so small time-wise as far as having the right conditions. But we are really excited about the run that we got in this year, and it will be interesting to see what we can ultimately do with this car. I think we can get to over 400."
The alternative fuel-powered straight-line speed exercise on the salt flats is a radical shift of gears for Mooresville-based Riley Technologies, which is well known for exploits on road and oval circuits around the globe.
"This is a great project for us because it give us a chance to use the tools we have in-house on something completely different," said Riley Technologies Vice President Bill Riley. "It has been a great engineering exercise for us to push the limits of what's possible in this kind of racing. Doing a Streamliner is something my father (Riley Technologies President Bob Riley) has always wanted to do, so this was a great opportunity. Obviously we were hoping to get a record this year, but that's something that's so challenging about this category is that it only happens once a year."
The Bonneville project is just one of several concurrent motorsports engineering programs that Riley Technologies is managing, including the recently-announced Grand-Am KONI Challenge Chevrolet Camaro, the Riley Track-Day car, and the ALMS GT2 Corvette.