Chevy Cobalt SS Sets 172+ MPH Land Speed Record at Bonneville Salt Flats During Final Run on E85
Student Project Car Will Switch to Gasoline for the Rest of Speed Week
2006-08-17 WENDOVER, Utah - GM Performance Division’s Ecotec-powered Bonneville Student Project Chevy Cobalt SS set a 172.680 mph land speed record yesterday in the G/FCC class (G Class/Unblown Fuel Competition Coupe) at the Bonneville Salt Flats in its final run using E85 ethanol.
Wednesday’s record is the culmination of a week’s worth of accomplishments for the car, which was converted to run on E85 by three female engineering student interns - 19-year-old Heather Chemistruck from Virginia Tech University, 21-year-old Lauren Zimmer from Purdue University and 21-year-old Sandra Saldivar of New Mexico State University.
Running only on E85, the Student Project Cobalt broke the previous 19-year-old record of 152.626 mph set by Doc Jeffries in 1987, and then upped that record twice using E85 combined with nitrous oxide to its final mark of 172.680 mph in the G/FCC class.
The car will now switch to gasoline and try to qualify for a record in the G/GCC class (G Class/Unblown Gas Competition coupe) today.
“Most people know the environmental story behind E85 ethanol, with its lower emissions and capability for helping reduce U.S. dependency on foreign oil.” said GM Performance Division executive Al Oppenheiser, whose team heads up GM’s efforts at Bonneville. “But there is also a performance story for E85, since it burns cooler than gasoline and has a higher octane rating.”
“We came out here to showcase those performance benefits, and with the Student Cobalt qualifying or setting a record during every run in the fuel class, we more than accomplished our goal.”
The Student Cobalt finished its fuel class runs with a record more than 20 mph higher than the previous record coming into the 2006 Speed Week event, and will now look to best the 152.187 mph record in the G/GCC class.
Today, the crew will make a test pass with the car to validate the changes they made to the engine controller and fuel pressure provide the optimal air to fuel ratio while on the Salt for gasoline runs, and then later in the day it’s likely off to qualify for another record.
The Student Project Cobalt is powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter Ecotec LSJ engine, which is suited to all levels of off-road racing competition and in the past four years, has now set Bonneville land speed records in eight different classes.
For more information on GM’s activities during 2006 Bonneville Speed Week, please visit media.gm.com and click “Press Kits / Events” at the top of the home page, find the 2006 list of kits and click “Bonneville Salt Flats.”
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