It’s sink or swim for sand speed record

Riley Riley

Record-setting motorcycle ace Zef Eisenberg and his MADMAX Race Team have got a new target in their sights.

On the weekend of April 6-7, Eisenberg will attempt to become the first person to achieve a British land speed record on bike and car within the same year.

The goal is to hit 200mph (322km/h) and beyond in an 895kW specially built road legal Porsche 911 Turbo S on sand.

The attempt will take place at Pendine Sands in South Wales.

In May 2018, Eisenberg became the first person to exceed 322km/h with a wheel-driven vehicle, at this world famous speed track.

He reached 324.399km/h on his supercharged Suzuki Hayabusa becoming the ‘fastest motorbike on sand’ in the world, just 20 months after surviving Britain’s fastest-ever, motorcycle crash — at 370km/h.

Eisenberg shouldn’t be alive. He spent three months in hospital, followed by three months in a wheel chair — but defied the odds to race again in under a year.

Since the crash, he’s set numerous records, including an ACU sanctioned flying quarter-mile, flying kilometre and flying mile, on his MADMAX road legal supercharged Suzuki Hayabusa — albeit heavily modified.

This ‘twin’ record attempt, however, is something very different, as is the outrageous car the MADMAX Race Team has built.

“I’m well known for setting records on bikes, so people started asking me why not cars?” Eisenberg said.

So after meticulous research into what would be needed to top 322km/h on sand, Eisenberg settled on a 2015 410kW Porsche 911 Turbo S.

There was just one problem: although this car is very fast, it will ‘only reach 282km/h in 1.6km on tarmac.

To achieve 322km/h on tarmac, the car needed 560kW at the wheels.

Sand creates a lot of resistance and tyre slip, so the team worked out it would need at least 746kW at the rear wheels, which equates to a crazy 895kW at the engine — more than twice its original output.

The MADMAX team have built a bespoke 4.2-litre Porsche motorsport engine with new stronger internals, upgraded turbos, plus a new E85 fuel system, advanced cooling set-up and far more.

A lot of work was done to ensure that the monstrous power would come in as smoothly as possible in order to limit wheelspin on the loose surface.

To cope with such an extreme output, the gearbox and clutch needed to be extensively upgraded, and the brakes and suspension modified to allow for different wheels and tyres.

Apart from a full FIA roll cage, competition seats and safety harness, the Porsche’s interior is completely standard.

“Weight is actually your friend on sand,” Eisenberg. said.

“It’s about stability – putting enough weight on the tyres to increase traction. Even though, we have accidentally made the car 140kg lighter than standard, we have no need to strip weight out.

“The car is actually road legal, so we will drive it from the hotel onto the beach and to the restaurant after, hopefully to celebrate.”

For the two-wheeled part of the record, Eisenberg will be riding his specially built 260kW supercharged Suzuki ‘MADMAX’ Hayabusa.

The Pendine attempt comes 55 years after John Surtees won the Formula 1 title, becoming the first – and so far only – man to win the world championship on two wheels and four.

It was also in 1964 that Donald Campbell CBE became the first man to set speed records on both land and water in the same year.

Pendine is the same venue that Sir Malcolm Campbell raced his aero engine Bluebird to a maximum speed of 280km/h way back in 1927.

“I’ve well and truly caught the speed addiction. It’s in my blood. Each run itself might only be between 25 and 40 seconds, but a new record is just the icing on the cake, after years of research and experimentation. Those who are addicted to speed, will understand – it’s all about the quest to overcome the challenge and battle the laws of physics.”

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