The team on the salt flats in Bonneville. Photo credit: Project '64 Bonneville Mini.

Bonneville records fall to 52-year-old Mini


The Nelson-based land speed record team running a 52-year-old Mini at Bonneville Speed Week are celebrating success having claimed two world records so far.

The Project 64 team was founded in Nelson by Garry Orton and the kiwi team have travelled a long way to race the 1964 Mini Cooper S at the Bonneville Speed Week in Utah, USA.

Photo credit: Project '64 Bonneville Mini.
The 1964 Mini Cooper S on the Bonneville salt flats. Photo: Project ’64 Bonneville Mini.

The first record was set on tuning runs for the little Mini that has gained a great deal of attention at the iconic Speed Week event.

In the I/BGALT class, they set a speed of 231.799kph on a 215.485kph record.

The team then switched classes to I/BFALT – a change from petrol to methanol, and on a tuning run for methanol broke the 226.045kph class record with a speed of 254.339kph.

They were unable to back this up due to a hose fault on their next run.

Once the problem was solved they went out again and qualified at 247.372kph, and backed it up the next morning for a record result of 251.067kph.

These are both huge results in a sport where records are often claimed by margins of three decimal points.

This afternoon the team will again switch classes and attempt to break another record. With only two and a half days left of Speed Week, time is running out to show the little car’s full potential.