Speed kings eye tilt at new record

ANNA PEARSON
Last updated 13:00 15/02/2013

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Nelson's record breaking Mini has captured the imaginations of racing enthusiasts around the world, and the team behind the small speedy car have plans to go even faster.

A specially modified 1964 Morris Mini Cooper broke the record for the 1000cc class at Bonneville Speed Week on the Utah salt flats in August, scoring an average 146.6mph (235.9kmh).

The car made it back to New Zealand shores in late November, and is on display in the foyer of the World of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum.

The men behind the project, including Garry Orton of Victory Automotive, have been in recovery mode.

Mr Orton said one engine had been sent away to get rebuilt, which would replace the one in the car when it was done.

"We want them fresh, and our engine builder reckons he can get another 30 horsepower out of them."

They will need to be fresh if the Project 64 team is to return to Bonneville next year, and beat its own record.

"We think if we go back and raise it to 170 to 175mph, she'll be untouchable for a couple of years."

Mr Orton said while the team was "bloody rapt" with its world record, it was a little bit disappointed with the speed it reached.

"We knew we could have done a whole lot better. We exceeded most people's expectations, but not our own."

Project 64 member Mike Wilson said a speed of 175mph would bring new challenges, such as the need for a parachute to slow the vehicle down at the end of its run.

The team had started putting things in motion to get the project off the ground again, and one of the key things it needed was $40,000 in sponsorship.

The first project - "six-figure stuff" - was supported by sponsors including Talley's and Maersk shipping, which transported the car to the United States and back for nothing.

Mr Orton said going to Bonneville would be cheaper second time around, because the car was already built.

He said news of the record spread around the world, and was featured by agencies including the BBC and a well-respected international Mini magazine.

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