Super Street Network

 |   |  Bonneville Speedway - Track Review
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

Bonneville Speedway - Track Review

The real allure of Bonneville Speedway is its surreal setting.

David Pratte
Feb 4, 2013
Modp 1301 01 o+bonneville speedway track review+bonneville salt flats sign Photo 1/4   |   modp-1301-bonneville-speedway-track-review

Specs & Details

Bonneville Speedway

Location Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah (near Wendover)
Track Configuration 10-12-mile straightaway
Other Facilities Salt, and plenty of it

Chances are you’re familiar with the moonscape that is the Bonneville Salt Flats, given how significant a location it is in the world of speed and how often it’s used as a dramatic location for film and TV. In fact, the feature film The World’s Fastest Indian is a NetFlix must-watch, based on a true story about a speed-obsessed Kiwi who shipped his shed-built ’20 Indian motorcycle across the Pacific en route to setting a land-speed world record during the ’67 Speed Week at Bonneville Speedway.

Modp 1301 02 o+bonneville speedway track review+racing beat FD RX 7 Photo 2/4   |   modp-1301-bonneville-speedway-track-review

One of the most intriguing things about Bonneville Speedway is that, unlike traditional racetracks or dragstrips, it doesn’t have a permanent location. That’s because the conditions of the western salt flats near Wendover, Utah, where the 10-mile-long straightaway is set up, change from year to year, so the organizers select the best piece of flats when setting up the course.

The Speedway was set up by the state’s Department of Transportation, but 20 or so years ago, the responsibility was offloaded to the two major event organizers: the Southern California Timing Association, which hosts Speed Week, and the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association, which hosts the World of Speed, both of which cater to land-speed racers from across America and around the world. Track preparation is a relatively simple affair, with grading to ensure a flat surface and some surveying to ensure the accuracy of the distance-traveled timing system.

The real allure of Bonneville Speedway is its surreal setting—the dry salt lakebed that is utterly devoid of vegetation or other signs of life, and the mind-bending machines that make the annual late-summer pilgrimage there in search of land-speed glory. The stars of the show are the streamliners—long, missile-shaped creations that run at speeds normally reserved for jets and UFOs (the current land-speed world record is held by ThrustSSC at a speed of 763 mph).

Modp 1301 03 o+bonneville speedway track review+hondata CRX RSX Photo 3/4   |   modp-1301-bonneville-speedway-track-review

Some notable sport-compact–based land-speed machines have set records at Bonneville, from Racing Beat’s famous FD RX-7 that flipped at 220 mph in 1993 and then returned in 1995 to set a class record at 241 mph, to Hondata’s recent straight-line blasts to glory at the ’11 Speed Week in its 230-mph twin-supercharged Acura RSX and 220-mph 1.5L turbocharged Honda CRX.

Wanna see Marian and Doug from Hondata go ridiculously fast in their Hondas? All the Bonneville land-speed events are open to the public, so there’s no reason you couldn’t drop in to see the action in person. That said, there are no facilities to speak of at Bonneville, so bring sunscreen, a big-rimmed hat, food and water, and even a bike or scooter if you have one (lots of distance to cover if you want to take a look at all the cars in the makeshift paddock area). And don’t forget your camera, either, because you’ll see some motorized machines here that will completely blow your mind.

Modp 1301 04 o+bonneville speedway track review+bonneville salt flat map Photo 4/4   |   modp-1301-bonneville-speedway-track-review
By David Pratte
216 Articles

BROWSE CARS BY MARKET

MORE FEATURES

Paul the Apostle wasn't necessarily talking about K-series-swapped Integras when he spoke to the Corinthians, telling them to "race to win."
Aaron BonkNov 20, 2018
Based on what Mini did with the 2006 Cooper S Works GP and the 2012 John Cooper Works GP, expect a small power bump and a punishingly firm ride.
Collin WoodardNov 20, 2018
Lamborghini debuted a racing version of the Urus that will hit the track in 2020
Kelly PleskotNov 20, 2018
As a general rule of thumb, most Ferrari owners leave their cars untouched in an effort to protect their resale value. But Ryan Dandurand isn't like most Ferrari owners
Jonathan WongNov 19, 2018
For 70 years, the Abarth emblem has been intimidating competitors in its various incarnations as a race car and performance road-car builder.
ManufacturerNov 19, 2018
Sponsored Links

SEARCH ARTICLES BY MAKE/MODEL

Search
CLOSE X
BUYER'S GUIDE
SEE THE ALL NEW
NEWS, REVIEWS & SPECS
TO TOP