World speed record set near York

26 Jun 2013 @ 12.14 pm
| News
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Lord Paul Drayson celebrates his record speed. Photograph: Drayson Racing Technologies Ltd

During the first day of running at Elvington Airfield, just outside York, Drayson Racing Technologies has broken the world land speed record for a lightweight electric car.

The Lola B12 69/EV hit a top speed of 204.2mph (328.6km/h). This is 29.2mph more than the previous record for a vehicle weighing less than 1,000kg, set in 1974 by Battery Box Electric in America.

The company’s chief executive, Lord Drayson, was behind the wheel for the record-breaking run. Prior to his career in motor racing and technology, he was Minister of State in the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, under the Labour Government. Also present, earlier in the event, was Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt.

Drayson said that “The real challenge has been accelerating a 1,000kg electric vehicle on a short runway over a measured mile, rather than the outright top speed. On the last run I had to use all the braking area to get the car stopped. It really was tight for space.”

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The Lola B12 69/EV at the Rockingham racing circuit earlier in 2013. Photograph: Drayson Racing Technologies Ltd

Elvington Airfield is no stranger to world records or high speed runs, both of cars and planes. It is the longest runway in the North of England at 3,094 m (10,151 ft) long and is the location where the current British Land Speed Record was set by the Vampire, driven by Colin Fallows in July 2000 at a speed of 300.3 mph (483.3 km/h).

It was also the location where Richard Hammond crashed when trying out the Vampire for Top Gear in 2006.

Although the FIA has still to verify the speed, more runs are planned for Wednesday 26 June 2013 and it is hoped higher speeds may yet be achieved.