Photo Flashback: Bonneville Speed Week
The legendary Bonneville Speed Week ends today for another year. The “track” is, of course, not a track at all, but rather the famous Bonneville Salt Flats, a 412 square km salt flat in Utah, USA.
According to the Southern California Timing Association, who run the event, “Bonneville Land Speed Racing is a unique sport that consists of very determined people who drive hot rods, roadsters, belly tankers, lakesters, motorcycles, streamliners, and even diesel trucks to “shoot the salt” in a simple quest to have their name added to the record books.”
American Mazda tuner Racing Beat has been running the rotary powered Japanese machines at the event cars since 1974. Here are a few shots of their efforts from ’74 to ’86.
The RX-4 in the opening photo was a project of Car & Driver Magazine and featured an engine built by Racing Beat. At the 1974 Bonneville event, the little Mazda recorded a record speed of 160.3 mph (257 kmh). Not bad for a rice burner.
The second shot shows the Racing Beat developed first generation RX7 from the 1978 event. Thanks to the more aerodynamic body of the RX7 and improved horsepower, this car set a record of 183.9 mph (295kmh) with Car & Driver editor Don Sherman behind the wheel.
The final photo depicts the then new FC3S model RX7 from the mid ’80s. At the 1986 event, this white RX-7 set a long-standing E/BGT record of 238.4 mph (383 kmh)