Bluebird Electric will attempt to break the UK’s land speed record for an electric vehicle in Wales this weekend.
Don Wales, 50, and his Bluebird team will try to break the 137mph barrier, which Wales set in 2000. He is hoping to reach a speed in excess of 150mph when he races at Pendine Sands, in Carmarthenshire, South Wales.
Wales is the grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell and nephew of Donald Campbell, a family who have been setting land and water speed records since 1924. Wales’ 19-year-old son, Joe, will also be racing the battery-powered vehicle, becoming the fourth generation of the Campbell family to pursue record-breaking when he drives Bluebird Electric to attempt the quarter-mile and 500-metre UK speed records.
The Bluebird team is hoping to use this weekend’s trials to test the technology behind the super-fast car and to build a new electric vehicle for an attempt on the world speed record in two years’ time. They want to hit 500mph and pass the 307mph record set by the Buckeye Bullet 2.5 team last year. This would also beat the wheel-driven record, which stands from 2001 at 458mph.
Don Wales said: “Ten years ago we set a UK record of 137mph at Pendine Sands and we are going back there this weekend to hopefully increase that speed to somewhere around 150mph or 160mph. This really is the start of a two or three-year campaign with a target of 500mph.”
Wales was speaking at BAE Systems’ airfield at Filton, Bristol, as the team carried out final checks ahead of this weekend.
Test driver and technical director Tim Allen took the Bluebird on to the runway to test the brakes and acceleration - easily beating the pace car.
Wales’ son Joe said he was also looking forward to the weekend and maybe even beating his father. “We’ll see how it goes. I might try and go for the outright speed and I’ll have a crack at it,” he said.
“I am very proud to be representing my family and their heritage. Hopefully, this is the start of a world record car.”