7 March 2020
The New Zealand land speed record was smashed today by Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Sergeant Dean Hart, driving a jet-powered dragster at RNZAF Base Ohakea.
The record-breaking vehicle reached an average speed of 363.436 kilometres an hour (km/h) over a mile, beating the previous record of 355.485km/h.
During the run Sergeant Hart reached a top speed of 458.2 km/h.
“Over 450km/h, I’m happy,” he said. “We’ve done it – not bad.”
This was the first time Sergeant Hart, an avionics technician at RNZAF Base Auckland, had attempted the record and he said the record-setting drive was more difficult than the test runs.
“The car was wavering a little bit. There’s not a lot of wind today but the car was moving around a lot more than in the test runs. However, we reached a lot higher speed than the test runs as well.”
He is now the proud possessor of the Castrol Trophy for setting the land speed record.
The record-breaking car is powered by a Rolls Royce Viper 535 engine from a BAC Strikemaster aircraft, which runs on aviation jet fuel. The car has been built by Sergeant Hart and other members of RNZAF technical trades at Whenuapai Motorsports Club over the past 10 years using mostly second-hand parts.
“The chassis is 30 years old, the motor is 60 years old. It was a slow process of piecing it together,” Sergeant Hart said.
RNZAF Base Ohakea was an ideal location for the attempt because there was more than enough space to be able to crack the record, he said.
He paid special thanks to his team for their role in making the attempt successful.