As the mist descended on the cool, deserted airstrip, the team slowly unloaded the car from the trailer. The time had come for the annual engine test. After everything that they had run into trying to run the car the previous year, the team had been working tirelessly to fix the issues. This engine test would be one of the final testaments to that, prior to running the car later in the year.
In one of the few spaces of relative dryness, Steve Wallace and Steve Rima had worked tirelessly from the night before to prepare the communication systems. While the car may take only a few hours to setup, the radio towers took far longer to erect and configure. Combined with a new onboard computer, courtesy of Lenovo, there was a good deal of work to be done. No chances would be taken, not even for this test. The more prepared the team was, the more confident that they would be when it came time to run the car for real.
Alongside the car, a crowd had begun to form. The team was watching as Charles, an engineer from Olympus, showed what the company’s new borescope could really do. Having heard about the team’s plans to test the engine, Olympus had volunteered to have someone come out and inspect the engine with the new product. This new tool, the Olympus IPLEX NX, would be able to show them an unprecedented level of detail when it came to the engine. It would be yet another assurance for the team that they were as ready as ever. With the borescope in hand, Charles immediately went to work with the help of Dave Selby. As they worked their way through the engine, it quickly became apparent that they had little to worry about, with a few points to monitor over time. Closing out the inspection, the team wasted no time in sealing up the open compartments and beginning final checks.
As the rain slowly abated, and the last of the crowd ushered behind the safety cones, the start cart began to spin up with its signature low pitch whine. Following in the footsteps of the start cart, the engine began to spin up with a sound that only a pilot could love. And then, almost without warning, the engine began a high pitched shriek. With little time to waste, the engine came alive, with a beautiful flame jetting from the rear of the vehicle. The crowd could feel the heat and wind wash over their faces, despite standing a good distance away. Not long after, as the flame began its rapid descent back into the bellows of the engine, the whining noise slowly died down. Once the engine finally began to cool down, and Ed opened the cockpit, there were congratulations all around. The engine had performed exactly as they had hoped.
After having started the engine a couple more times, there was little left for the team to do. So they began to pack up the car, and get ready to take it back to the shop. Everything had worked to near perfection, better than they could have hoped. With only a few small tweaks left to make on the car, the team knew that they were closer than ever. With the car beginning its slow lift into the trailer, they were well on their way. It meant that not only the team, but the car itself was ready to push the boundaries of speed. Follow along on our journey to break the world land speed record.
Special Thanks to Port of Shelton, Olympus, and Lenovo for supporting the event