Gearboxes help British Steam Car break land speed record

1 min read

Motor Technology has supplied three gearboxes that were used on support rigs during the British Steam Car’s successful attempt to break the land speed record for steam powered vehicles in August 2009.

The British Steam Car, owned by The Steam Car Company and driven by Charles Burnett III, broke the existing land speed record at Edwards Air Force base in California, USA, by achieving an average speed of 139.843mph after two consecutive runs of a measured mile, on 25 August 2009.

The following day, the British Steam Car was driven again, this time by Don Wales, over a measured kilometre. An average speed of 148.308mph was achieved, over two consecutive runs,  again breaking the world record. Both records have been recorded and ratified by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

Motor Technology supplied Tramec EP 120 planetary gearboxes with ratios of 7:1 and a high output torque of 150N. They were used as speed reducers on the test rigs and were fitted in-between a 31Hp Briggs & Stratton engine and a high-pressure pump operating at speeds of up to 400rpm. The gearboxes are maintenance free and had to operate at temperatures over 37 degrees Celsius.

The rigs performed a vital role during the challenge as they were used to quickly and efficiently refuel the cars in-between each of the two consecutive runs.