Most of this story is not me telling the story, however, its the Record setter himself telling us of the events and routines leading up to the attempt.
Getting Ready – January 17, 2020
Thought I would take some time to explain the day and how we managed to get Blucifer over the 250 number.
We had spent the day before unloading the car and going thru tech inspection, they spent time reviewing everything from the open long studs, cage, fire suppression etc and even watched as we torqued the lug nuts and checked air pressures in the tires, very in depth inspection but I completely understand the need for it.
After that we checked all fluids and started taping up the seams on the car, mirrors and wipers removed already. Alpha checked and double checked all the various tunes and made some adjustments as Jamie and Dillon went over the mechanical aspects of the car. Once all that work was done we loaded the car back in the trailer and headed to dinner and got some rest for the big day to come.
The Records Setting Day – January 18, 2020
We were up early on Saturday and headed over to the runway even before the sun had come up. Got the car unloaded and once again started going over the tune and mechanical components getting ready for our chance to see what Blucifer was capable of.
I have this tradition of putting M&Ms in the console of every Viper I have raced and this one wasn’t any exception as 3 bags of peanut butter M&Ms are in there still. At some point I will eat my 250 MPH M&Ms just like I did my 200 and 235 ones.
Johnny Bohmer’s crew is getting things organized for us to head out on runway, pictures taken, videos done, safety briefing and introductions of his team members and safety crew. We eventually get onto the runway and Johnny Bohmer takes everyone thru a low speed trip down the runway to show us the ropes and explain how it all will work.
After that we have driver’s meeting and start to set up for the half mile shakedown runs. IMRA ( International Mile Racing Association ) is handling the timing/speed for the event and they are set up at half mile already. I get suited up for the run which is a job to get all that gear on and then crawl into the cage and get strapped in, but I’m big on safety and push it on everyone I talk to, spend the money first on safety and then next on making the car fast.
I’m Strapped in so tight it actually hurts a little bit, along with HANs, helmet, fire suit, shoes, gloves etc. but that’s the way it should be. First run of the day and I plan on just an easy run, half mile isn’t what we are there for and I don’t want to break anything.
1/2 Mile Runs
On the line, easy launch and row thru a few gears, timing lights come quick in a half mile and first run was 174.168 MPH. Not bad, car felt solid although Alpha showed me afterwards that the clutch was slipping and that we needed to get some heat in it. More adjustments to the tune and decided to heat clutch up with a quick burn out. I switched off the traction control, went out a few car lengths to get away from others and forgot that this car has a lot more power than my orange Viper, WOT and nano seconds later I’m finishing that circle that I never planned, was a bit embarrassed but back to line.
Second half mile was slightly better and clutch felt better, ran a 177.329 so we were done in half mile and were moving to 1 mile. Again I don’t want to break anything as I calculated I need 1.25 to 1.5 miles to break 250 I don’t want to lean on the car too hard in the mile.
1 Mile Run
I launch it like grandma going to the grocery store, row thru the gears and the car does an easy 228.414 MPH run. Alpha checks data and this is where we started having some issues and honestly we were concerned for our chances to make any bigger numbers. I won’t get into the problems as we were doing some experimenting and want to keep that to ourselves for now. We were unable to run another mile and started prepping for the 2.3 mile runs, I want to give Alpha, Jamie and Dillon credit for jumping on the issues and doing everything possible to allow me to run some more.
2.3 Mile Run
I line up for 2.3 mile run and I know I’m now going to have to time the moment I go WOT as the car will reach top speed well before the timing lights if I just jump on it from starting line. I roll out to that point that I’ve decided in my head is the GO moment and run hard to the timing lights.
Car hits 248.077 which is new world record for a Viper, I’m super excited but also realize I screwed up, mistimed that run badly and we have a car that isn’t 100% so every run could be our last for the day.
Another hour plus and we go back to the line for our last run at 2.3 miles as they are moving to 2.7 afterwards.
May be the end of the quest
Same plan in my head except I’ve picked a new point on the runway to go WOT. Everything goes as planned except for the fact the run is slower than the previous run at 246. 372 MPH, and I’m thinking that may have been our last run of the day. I’m really bummed about it but the guys are still working on the car trying to get ready for one more. Alpha checks data and learns we did that run on pos 1, lowest HP/torque and the 93 tune, we are running C16.
Turns out the driver was to blame, I turned the can bus display mounted off the windshield and with my gloves on I didn’t feel the switch turning as I did that. I’m starting to feel like this isn’t going to happen today with everything going on between the car and the driver. No one is giving up, those guys are steady working on the car determined to get it back out there for a big number.
The Last Attempt
Minutes, hours click by and they keep after it, never giving up. It’s getting late in the day, we have to be off the runway at 5 pm at the latest. It’s 4:30 and we decide to make one last attempt, I get strapped in, get the car over to the starter, line up, GO………….and I leave, first gear and car is breaking up, go to 2nd and more of the same, $%#*%@ I feel crushed as I make a quick left turn and roll back to the start, our last chance just went away. Alpha quickly plugs in to that magic box, some keystrokes, and says ok go.
Now I’m back on line, it’s like 4:50, lol nothing like a little pressure. I’ve been here before, I generally don’t get worked up or panic cause I know that doesn’t help but this is my last run so I do feel some. Johnny Bohmer walks up, last minute advice from him which I listen to everything he says, he knows his stuff, quick fist bump, he walks out a little ways and turns around and not sure why I even did it, not like I had any confidence in what was about to happen but I lift my left hand up and hold up 2 fingers, then 5 fingers and then 2 again…..I see him grin, thumbs up. I roll up windows, drop my face shield, thumbs up to starter and it’s on…………
I ease out, I know where I need to get on it and I do. I quickly run the gears and I’m watching the tach, oil pressure, speed on the GPS and mostly over the hood. I see the speed climbing quickly and I’m really feeling good about this run. Car is feeling solid…..200 turns into 210…..220……..230……..240 and I feel it beginning to struggle a little bit but it’s still creeping up…….245……..finally 250!
I’m sure I’ve got a smile ear to ear at that point and I see it settle in at 252.5 on the GPS. At this point I realize I can’t see the timing light cones/flags and my car is going static. I know if I lift any at all I will never get it back so I decide to stay in it. It never drops below that 252.5 and that segment of the run feels like it lasted forever, we later calculate it was at 252.5 MPH for .77 miles. I finally see the cones, I know now I’m going to make it, I cross the first timing light, then second one and it’s hard on the brakes.
Now my concern is stopping it, I’m running stock Viper calipers/rotors and Racetech pads. I move toward right half of runway and am just standing on the brakes, the car is slowing but not fast enough for me. I downshift a gear and then another trying to help slow the car. The last bit of the runway the brakes lock up and all four tires are making that noise that actually sounds really good in that moment. I get it stopped, window down, arm out and thumbs up so safety crew knows all is good.
I get over to taxi/travel lanes and I head back to starting line. I already think I broke 250 but you never know how accurate the GPS is. Everyone is heading over as I approach, I’m sitting in the car as they tell me the number…….252.588 MPH………I don’t know how to describe the moment so I’m not going to try. It’s been over a week and I’m still not sure how, but I do know this never would have happened without the support from my wife, family and the entire crew involved in this experiment. I appreciate everyone’s support on this and hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I did. Now I have learned that my wife does read the posts on the forum so no one mention what comes after 250………….
David aka FST SNAKE
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