America's high-speed hot-rodders will gather in Wendover, Utah at the fabled Bonneville Salt Flats August 18-24 for the 2008 Bonneville Speed Week - one of our favorite events and somewhere everybody should visit at least once (see our coverage in the February 2008 issue of eurotuner magazine).
Once again, the Chicago-based 1991 Alfa Spider (nicknamed "Bonnie") will add a little Italian flair to the proceedings, while shooting for yet another speed record.In 2006, the screaming yellow Spider managed a 217.152mph average over two runs to claim the G/BGMS (Blown Gas Modified Sports) record the team had been chasing since its first trip to Bonneville in 1999. That also made the Richard Kreines-owned Spider the fastest full-bodied Alfa Romeo ever, beating the record previously held by Alfa Romeo's own ProCar 164.
This year, the focus is on regaining the G/BFMS (Blown Fuel Modified Sports) record set in 2002 but was obliterated by a 221mph Nissan in 2006. The team hoped to achieve that goal last year, but had to cancel the trip at the last minute. Now, after another year of aero and cooling improvements, car builder Mike Besic of Besic Motorsports and engine builder Jim Steck of Autocomponenti are confident the International Auto Parts-sponsored Alfa has what it takes to get the job done.
Three different drivers (Besic, Steck and Craig Bielat) have set records in the car so far, and Steck joined Bonneville's exclusive 200MPH Club in 2006. That type of success is exceptionally rare at Bonneville, especially for sports car guys from the Midwest running a four-cylinder Italian sports car. Kreines is proud of what the team has achieved so far and he's looking forward to adding another record in 2008. "We've had the right people and everything came together," he said. "We've been lucky, too - not everybody goes out there and achieves what we have. The car's got three records and we'll get the other one back."