There’s a lot of Daytona experience at Edison2: between us we have multiple wins in the 24 Hour sportscar race held there every year. One of the nice things about the famous speedway in Florida is the way it respects the history of place. For example, some of the grandstands are named for past Land Speed Record holders, men whose heroic feats took place on nearby Daytona Beach.
You’ll see a photo of Craig Breedlove’s last LSR car in our aero man, Barnaby Wainfan’s photo credits. That’s because he was an advisor to the Spirit of America team. While Barnaby is the only member of our team who’s actually been part of an LSR effort, it turns out that a lot of Edison2’s people share an interest in the Land Speed Record and the cars that have been built for it.
We like to think we can learn from history and, having done a bit of car building ourselves, we can respect and learn from what some dedicated and clever people decided to do in the past. When we were first discussing how to lay out the Very Light Car, Frank Lockhart’s Stutz Black Hawk kept coming up. Here’s a picture of that car on Daytona Beach in 1928
Besides the obvious connection between Lockhart’s streamlining ideas and ours, here’s what we like about the Black Hawk: it was light, efficient and it gave wonderful performance from a small engine.
Six days before Lockhart made his LSR attempt, Ray Keech set a new record at 207.55 mph in a monstrous car whose three airplane engines totaled 4920 cubic inches.
Land Speed Record rules require timed runs in each direction to remove the effect of wind and gradient. Lockhart lost control and was killed on his return run when a tire failed at about 225 mph. Had he completed that run, Lockhart would have handsomely beaten Keech’s record with an engine of just 4% the size.
At Edison2, we think the absolute virtues of light weight and low aerodynamic drag are as valid today as at Daytona Beach in 1928. We have made the conscious decision to take efficiency as seriously as we possibly can and we’ve built a car that both pays proper homage to history and incorporates the best of the new. We like to think that there’s at least one guy in race car heaven who’s smiling on our efforts.