Zef Eisenberg, known for his speed attempts on two wheels, sped into the record books this weekend when he managed to successfully set the fastest ever speed record in a wheel-powered vehicle at Pendine Sands, South Wales on Saturday at 210.332mph.
Eisenberg also achieved the fastest flying quarter (one way) wheel powered record at 206.492mph and fastest flying mile (one way) wheel powered record at 196.970mph. He then went on to match Sir Malcolm Campbell’s record by setting the fastest flying mile (2 way) at 187.962mph.
Remarkably, Zef is the only person in history to have achieved in excess of 200mph on both a bike and in a car at Pendine. He is also the only person in Britain to have achieved the flying mile record on both a bike and in a car.
Sir Malcolm Campbell, the man who first set the record at Pendine Sands in 1927 at a speed of 174.8mph in the iconic Blue Bird, set the record that stood for nearly 90 years.
Last month Eisenberg achieved a Flying Mile record at Pendine on his MADMAX 400bhp supercharged Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle. This comes in the shadow of surviving Britain’s fastest-ever (230mph) motorcycle crash just under two years ago and he has subsequently added over a dozen new British speed records since that fateful day.
The car that helped set these records at the weekend, is a road legal Porsche 911 Turbo, which was specially built and prepared by ES Motors and Zef Eisenberg’s MADMAX Race Team.
An understandably ecstatic Eisenberg said after his runs on Saturday: “A huge thank you to ES Motors and my own MADMAX Race Team for working tirelessly on the extensive Porsche preparation, engine build and tune, to ensure we had the engineering and power to achieve this very challenging record. An additional thanks to the event organisers; Straightliners and Speed Record Club for finding and setting a 2-mile course with difficult sand conditions.”
The Porsche is not a new car and was originally just a standard 2014, 550hp 911 Turbo. The MADMAX Race Team then set about building a bespoke 4.1-litre race engine with new innards, gearbox, clutch and drive shafts, along with an upgraded E85 fuel system and sophisticated charge cooling set-up to stop engine detonation. A great deal of energy went in to ensuring that the immense power and torque of the engine would come in as progressively as possible so as to limit wheelspin on the loose sand surface. As a result, the PDK transmission has been upgraded, and the suspension lifted to give the Porsche adequate ground clearance for the sandy conditions.
The car is otherwise pretty much standard apart from being fitted with a full FIA roll cage, competition seats and safety harness. Unlike a light-weight competition car, you actually need to have weight on the sand. “It’s about stability – putting enough weight on the tyres to increase traction.” Zef explains.
“The Porsche behaves very differently on sand than tarmac. The sand creates a lot of resistance and tyre slip. In the end we could only use 850hp (1000hp at the engine) to avoid too much wheel spin, compared to just 550hp (engine) from a factory car.”
Eisenberg went on to say that “Pendine has such an illustrious history. Racers have been flocking here since the 1900s trying to set speed records. The world land speed record heroes of yesteryear like Malcolm Campbell and J.G. Parry-Thomas in the air have all raced here. It really is the holy grail of land speed”.
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man Behind The Wheel, a professional photographer and former saloon car racing driver.
Photographs courtesy of Zef Eisenberg