NO to 200mph on the shore. Alameda mile proposal denied.
One of approximately eighty Bugatti Veyron Targa Editions at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours D'elegance. Estimated price, $1.9 million. A good choice for attempting 200mph in one mile?
After reading about and seeing what looks like a really cool and fascinating type of racing in Florida, Texas and Utah, I thought, why in the world can't we do it here locally? The airstrip in Alameda, California is under utilized but well known.
Alameda Point is along the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay. These are old Naval air strips are where the TV show Mythbusters films many of their vehicle experiments. The movie Matrix Reloaded had it's highway scene filmed there as well.
One mile racing is gaining in popularity and notoriety. What is it and why is this happening? I'll explain and give a few theories. A one-mile race is exactly what it says. It isn't so much of a test of the elapsed time like the quarter-mile dragstrip, but rather what speed can the solo running vehicle can obtain. So how fast can a production car go in a standing mile? Less than 200mph for all practical purposes, possibly excluding the Bugatti Veyron and maybe the Koenigsegg CCX. A great Top Gear episode had the Dodge Challenger SRT-8 hitting 150mph, the new Cadillac CTS-V 160mph and the 638hp Corvette ZR1 170mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Why is becoming more popular? I've got a few ideas. First, as I've written before, traction management is an issue with powerful cars. When drag racing, in order to to achieve the best result possible, traction is absolutely essential. Since the one mile is about speed, tire spin and a prolonged, spinning standing start are not as detrimental. It isn't about quickness, it is about speed obtained. Many times the fastest trap speed obtained in the quarter mile doesn't have the quickest or best elapsed time.
Related to traction management, the skill needed to shift quickly is also reduced in importance for a good result. We can't all shift like "Ranger" and access to a dragstrip is sometimes a challenge. Many owners of the cars entered would rather not wait around to get a run in that is abusive to the clutch and tires while having to wait next to a punk kid whose ghetto'd-out Mustang has a challenging and crude profanity for a bumper sticker. I've personally seen it, and you get my point.
Another factor is the magic question, "How fast can it go?" You get a pretty neat answer in one mile. While it isn't the vehicle's top speed, at least bragging rights are documented. Exceeding the speed limit for over 7/8ths of a mile with the "go" pedal buried is pretty cool too. You may have seen the show Pinks! with more than a few of these older muscle cars having various mechanical failures. Imagine what would happen if some of these less-than-optimal aerodynamic machines go wide-open-throttle (WOT) for 30 seconds or so instead of 10? The likely change in their overall gearing in itself would be interesting.
If dragstrips are closing due to insurance and the need for land, these airstrips tend to just sit unused except in the case of Mythbusters and a few others. The best organized event that I know of, and the most famous and impressive is the Texas Mile for $195. For those with the money but don't want to run their car or are just curious, for $4,495, you can rent and drive among the fastest in the world in a rolling start: and reported here.
I thought why not use Alameda Point? No riff-raff at $200 plus for participants, lots of fast and exotic cars in the Bay Area that don't see the dragstrip and rarely see the road circuit at Laguna Seca, Sears Point or Thunderhill. And if liability is a concern, limit it to street-licensed and registered vehicles only. Charge an admission fee and suddenly you have a revenue generator.
Well I wrote to Alameda Point and as the title states, I was denied. Below is the response I received from the Property Manager:
"I have been asked by Ms. Potter to respond to your email. Over the years we have received similar requests for use of the runway. In each case we have had to turn down these requests for a couple of reasons. The first is that the Navy has several environmental remediation projects in process in the area, one of which crosses the runway at the west end. Another reason is the way the boundaries between the wildlife refuge currently supporting two endangered species, the California least tern and the California brown pelican, are demarked by fencing which also take up a portion of the runway area, meaning that none of the runways are available for use in their total length. For these reasons, we cannot approve your request for high speed acceleration tests at Alameda Point. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
I followed up with a request for a .5 or .25 mile length for a standard or 1/8th mile dragstrip usage. Both were denied.
More at cartruthblog.blogspot.com.