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RED ALERT: 24hr. Record falls.

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Jan 10, 2001
CenCoast CA
71 04 12 19
Forum members-
I pass on this news item that appeared on the ZR1 Net list this morning.

On October 14th a prototype of Volkswagen's new W12 Coupe in the final stages
of development set the world speed record for distance covered in "24 hours".
The 440 kW/600 bhp twelve-cylinder sports car covered 7,085.7 kilometres
(4,402.8 miles) at an average speed of 295.24 km/h (183.45 mph). It thus
toppled the previous record by a margin of twelve km/h (7.5 mph). In the
Volkswagen W12 Coupe capable of 350 km/h (217 mph), which had not been
specially prepared for the long-distance record bid, the team of drivers also
set two other world records (over 5,000 kilometres and 5,000 miles) and six
international vehicle class records. The class record for "12 hours" had
already been broken in a trial run.

The above report is credible.

I confirmed it this morning with John Heinricy, GM Director of Vehicle Development, and one of the team of drivers who set the previous record held by a 1990 Corvette ZR-1. The Corvette's record, set on March 2, 1990, stood for eleven years, seven months and 12 days.

At the "Gathering" event in May of 2000 at the National Corvette Museum which honored the tenth anniversary of the ZR1 Record Run, I had the honor of moderating a seminar by some of the drivers and a number of other persons associated with the Record Run. Here is an excerpt of a short speech I gave at the start of the presentation.

Ten years ago, a group of visionary Corvette enthusiasts took a slighly-modified, 1990 ZR-1 to a remote, tire test facility at Ft. Stockton Texas. Their goal was to reset the World, 24-Hour Speed Record. At the time, the "24 Hour" was the longest-standing, significant Speed Record for land vehicles. It had been set in 1940 at Bonneville, Utah by Ab Jenkins driving a purpose-built car powered by an aircraft engine and named, appropriately, the Mormon Meteor 3.

On March, 2, 1990, this group of Corvette enthusiasts and their ZR-1 were sucessful in not only setting the 24-Hour World Record, at 175.885 miles per hour, but also setting the 5000 kilometer record, at 175.710, the 5000 Mile Record, at 173.791, four other International records in class CA-G2-C10 along with a dozen or so other FIA, class records.

The ZR-1's World Record ranks as one of the greatest achievements in motorsports. Between 1940 and 1990, four, major manufacturers attempted to break this record: Ford in 1969, Mercedes Benz in 1976, Audi in 1988 and Chevrolet in 1990. Only Chevrolet, using a slightly-modified Corvette ZR-1, prepared and driven by a team of privateers, was sucessful.

Obviously, there were hundreds of people who had a part in setting these records. It would be impossible to list all of them. The key players were Tommy Morrison, who owned and managed the team, Tommy Roe who was the Crew Chief and a squad of eight drivers: John Heinricy, Scott Lagasse, Jim Minneker, Scott Allman, Don Knowles, Kim Baker, Stuart Hayner and Tommy Morrison.

So far, the ZR-1's World Records are standing the test of time. To my knowlege only one of those marks, the one-hour, has fallen. It was reset by Ferarri whose road car products, in spite of their hallowed reputations, clearly lack the reliability and durability necessary run longer than an hour at speeds above 175 mph. There have been other attempts, notably Oldsmobile with a purpose-built car, the Aerotech, which is on display in this Museum.
:cry :cry :cry
Wow! That sucks Hib. Thanks for passing the word. It's amazing with todays highly advanced cars that it took competitors this long to beat the ZR-1.
Too bad knowone will ever see one of those VW's on the street. That's the amazing thing about the ZR-1's. You sometimes see these beasts lurking the streets :)

I'd take my ZR-1 over a VW any day of the week.

Yeah this does suck. It sure would be cool to wipe the dust off a certain ole Vette sitting in the Smithsonian Museum right now and go reclaim that record again.

Or.....maybe it would be a perfect opportunity to put the new Z06 to the test. ;) ;)
I didn't realize that there were TWO threads on this subject, but as I said in the other, they only raised the bar a little that's all, we'll be back! ;)

We will never see one, probleby. For the price you can buy 3 vette's I'll think.

So, make a vette wich is the price of that VW and you will have a vette with 2000hp.
Regarding the 90 ZR-1 that set all the records, how "slightly modified" was it? Anyone know?

- Eric
There's a great post on the ZR-1 record breaking 24 hour run. It gives all the information on how it was modified, interestingly enough, it had an extra 300 lbs of spare parts in two suitcases in the back, plus the roll cage, and telemetry equipment. So it was a very heavy ZR-1. I wonder if the VW was overweight during it's record breaking event? Also, after the 24 hour run, (which had a restriction on the LT5 throttle to limit it to 5800 RPM) the resricter was removed, and two victory laps were made at 190 MPH, that was 15 miles at that speed! I wonder if the car could have been driven at that speed for the 24 Hr event. Too bad it wasn't attempted, it would have taken much longer for any car to catch that record!
Sombody should "slightly modify" a Z06 and capture the record again for the good old American Iron concept.
Need to correct one thing from the above.

There was no victory lap upon reaching the 24-hour mark. The Record Run continued until the 5000 miles mark several hours later.

*Then* Stu Hayner, who was driving on the final stint, removed the throttle stop mechanism and ran several laps using WOT and at 190 mph +.

Until VW broke the records late last year, the ZR1 held all the records it has set in March of 90 except the one-hour which had fallen to a Ferarri in the late-90s.
Thanks for the correction to my post, I probably misread the story, or my brain was thinking "Victory Lap". At any rate that was quite the accomplishment, I think the next post said to bring out another ZR-1... What better way to re-enforce the title "King of the Hill" than to do it again, even faster.
Actually, I'm just fine with it... It had to happen.

Actually only three cars have held the record since WWII, and the ZR1 was the only production or production based car to do it. As far as I am concerned, it still does hold it, at least with an asterisk that refers to the comment, "...And you can buy one!"

Kudos for VW. I have always wondered, had GM really ever sponsored the attempt, what might (might) have been if two cars were run, one as described, and another at a faster rate (in case it blew up). We might have had a higher record.

Great post, Hib. The story of the ZR1 attempt will always be the stuff of legends....
Does anyone know whether any of those *spare* parts carried in the car were used during the run? and which ones? Hib?
Yes, a radiator hose or part of, which started leaking before the 5000 mi record, but after the 24 hour record! Apparently rubbed on a fan shroud.

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