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British pilot breaks diesel land-speed record

8/23/2006

SALT LAKE CITY -- A British pilot broke a land-speed record
for driving with a diesel engine, racing across the Bonneville Salt
Flats at more than 325 mph.

Andy Green broke the supercharged diesel streamliner world
record by more than 90 mph by reaching an average land speed
Tuesday of 328.767 mph. The old record was 235.756 mph, set by
Virgil Snyder on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1973.

"It's absolutely astonishing what we've achieved today," Green
said by telephone from the salt flats, about 90 miles west of Salt
Lake City.

The attempt was observed by the FIA, the international governing
body of racing. FIA rules require that two passes be made within an
hour to arrive at an average speed. Green's first run was clocked
at 324.265 mph and his return run at 333.364 mph, said David
Petrali, FIA's representative at the 11-mile track.

Green drove a vehicle powered by two diesel engines that have a
combined total of 1,500 horsepower. Each is a 4-cylinder, 4.4-liter
engine used commercially as a backhoe loader.

Green said he used only about 1,200 horsepower because the
vehicle couldn't handle any more than that. The tires on the car
are designed to go no faster than 350 mph, but Green's crew said
the car is capable of going 400 mph.

The record will likely become official when a FIA board meets
next month. Green said he might try to break his own record this
week.

Green also set a supersonic world land speed record in 1997 at
763.035 mph using a jet engine.