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Wednesday, 14 February, 2001, 09:15 GMT
Bluebird eyes world record
Bluebird E3 concept car
Work on the Bluebird E3 is under way
The Bluebird record team is putting on a potential bidding to break the world electric land speed record in the United States, possibly later this year.

The holders of the current UK record hope to have constructed and tested the new Bluebird E3 in time for a possible record attempt in October at the Bonneville salt lake flats, Utah.

The team is up against the US White Lightning project, which holds the current electric world record of 245.5mph.

Pendine Sands beach sign
Pendine Sands is more famous for records than speed limits
The Bluebird Electric 2 car holds the UK record, set at Pendine Sands in west Wales, last June, when Don Wales achieved a speed of 137mph, beating his previous record of 116 mph.

Mr Wales is the grandson of record breaker Sir Malcolm Campbell and nephew of Donald Campbell, who set numerous land and water speed records.

The new Bluebird E3 electric car will be powered by four wheel-mounted motors effectively harnessing double the power of its predecessor.

Frustrated by the confines of Pendine Sands, the project team now hopes to benefit from the vast expanses at Bonneville, USA, where the new car will have a longer run to challenge for the record.

First, they must find the necessary sponsorship to build and test the E3 before it is unleashed on Bonneville.

Bluebird land speed records
1927 - Malcolm Campbell - 174.883mph
1928 - Malcolm Campbell - 206.925mph
1931 - Malcolm Campbell - 246.090mph
1933 - Sir Malcolm Campbell - 276.820mph
1935 - Sir Malcolm Campbell - 301.129mph
1964 - Donald Campbell - 403.100mph
2000 - Don Wales - 137mph (UK electric record)
The electric speed record brings the whole issue of records full circle.

Frenchman Chassaloup-Laubat set the first world land speed record at at Acheres on 18 December, 1898 in a Jeantaud, an all electric powered motor vehicle, with a speed of 39.24mph.

Then in 1902, electricity was substituted by an alternative power form, steam, to take the record up to 76.06mph.

On 4 February, the Bluebird project team marked the 74th anniversary of Sir Malcolm Campbell's world record in 1927 in the first Bluebird, which was set at 174mph.

By 1935 - four speed records later - Sir Malcolm had pushed the limits of technology beyond 300mph.

Donald Campbell later took the record above 400mph in 1964.

Bluebird Electric - with Don Wales at the wheel - hopes to continue the legacy this year or next with another British triumph for the record books.

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Launch console
The Bluebird electric car is pushing back the boundaries of automotive technology

Behind the wheel


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See also:

04 Feb 01 | UK
Divers find Bluebird wreck
18 Aug 00 | Wales
Bluebird settles into new home
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