Fastest Audi in the World Gearing Up for Bonneville Speed Week 2016 with Multiple Races
Discover how the S400SX3 BorgWarner Turbocharger, from Area Diesel Service, and other performance upgrades are helping Jeff Gerner prepare his Audi to outrun the fastest sedans around.
It’s only February, but fans of all things fast can rest assured that Jeff Gerner is already focused on getting his famous Audi S4 in optimal condition to dominate at Bonneville Speed Week 2016, if the world-famous location is cleared to host races this August. Whatever happens at the Bonneville Salt Flats, the fastest Audi in the world is preparing to break land speed records this year.
Bonneville Speed Week 2016 at Risk
Since Teddy Tezlaff first set an unofficial land speed record of 141.73 mph at Bonneville in 1914, the potential for setting new records on the Salt Flats has drawn many a driver over the years. We all know the legendary names, like Craig Breedlove who took the Spirit of America to unthinkable speeds in '64 and '65 or Gary Gabolich who easily broke 620 mph in his Blue Flame rocket, but there are countless other land speed enthusiasts who have made their marks at Bonneville Speed Week. Area Diesel friend and colleague Jeff Gerner sits at the top of the list in our book. In 2011, Jeff set the Bonneville Speed Week F Production Supercharged record of 236.599 mph, driving his '93 Audi S4.
Now equipped with a Borg Warner Turbo from Area Diesel, Jeff has plans to top his incredible feat at Bonneville Speed Week 2016, just as he had planned before last year's event was cancelled. Unfortunately, that opportunity is once again very much in question at this point. Inclement weather and the increasingly unsuitable surface conditions of the racetracks have caused numerous cancellations at the Bonneville Salt Flats recently. Like many involved with land speed racing, Jeff is more than a little concerned that the declining conditions will cost us all the thrill of Bonneville Speed Week again in 2016.
On a positive front, efforts from organizations like Save The Salt and the Utah Alliance, along with many other key contributors, have gained the attention of state legislators in Utah. Just this month, The Salt Lake Tribune reported that lawmakers provided a unanimous "recommendation from the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee" on a resolution that puts public pressure on "the Bureau of Land Management [BLM] to restore the Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway to safe high-speed-racing conditions."1 In fairness to the BLM, the organizations mentioned above recently released a statement announcing there had been "improvement in communication and cooperation between the BLM and the land speed racing community."2
Area Diesel will be following the situation in Utah closely and hoping event organizers don't have to cancel Bonneville Speed Week 2016; we'll post updates as race week draws closer. In the mean time, while Jeff can't directly control the conditions of the tracks at Bonneville, he can do plenty to keep his turbocharged Audi ready to rock.
World's Fastest Audi Ready for Other Challenges
As you can guess, most people with the guts to take on ridiculously fast land speed racing records aren't big on waiting around. True to form, Jeff can't sit idle with all his hopes pinned to Bonneville Speed Week 2016 as the only chance to shatter records this year. Instead, Jeff and his team have decided to take on new challenges for the reigning, defending, undisputed fastest Audi in the world (man, saying that never gets old).
The Four Ring Performance Engineering team has Jeff's turbocharged Audi running at peak performance—hitting highs like she did on the Dyno in the video below—and have entered two upcoming events: The East Coast Timing Association Ohio Mile and the first-ever Arkansas Mile, run by the good folks behind the famed Texas Mile.
East Coast Timing Association Ohio Mile 2016
You can check out Jeff's faster-than-hell Audi at this year's East Coast Timing Association (ECTA) Ohio Mile, from April 29 - May 1. The event, held in Wilmington, Ohio, draws land speed racing fans from all over the state, not to mention the fans and competitors who make the trek from neighboring states in the Midwest. Fans can get their weekend-long fast fix for $15 per person or check out the Hot Rod Magazine Top Speed Challenge, and other runs, on Sunday for $10 per person.
The ECTA Ohio Mile follows the same record keeping as the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA), which oversees runs at Bonneville Speed Week, so car classes and standing records are the same. The current Ohio Mile record for the F Production Supercharged class is a solid 141 mph. Not bad. But when you drive the fastest Audi in the world, literally, like Jeff does, breaking that 141 mph mark is certainly an attainable goal. In fact, the Four Ring team expects to beat 141 mph by a large margin.
For the first time ever, on the first weekend of June 2016, the people behind The Texas Mile and The U.S. Mile are launching a mile-long land speed racing event in Arkansas. The races will take place at the Arkansas International Airport in Blytheville from June 3 - June 5. Funny that Jeff will be driving the BorgWarner turbocharged Audi on an actual runway, given that the sedan is capable of topping 260 mph and he doesn't "want this thing to take flight," as he told us for an earlier article in our World's Fastest Audi series. We love to watch him fly, but let's hope all four wheels stay grounded.
The Arkansas Mile event will see hundreds of cars and motorcycles vying to break land speed records, and fans can witness it all for $25 per person. That ticket price covers the entire weekend and includes free parking. Kids 12 and under also get in free. With so many fans and other drivers headed to Arkansas for the weekend, we know Jeff will be ready to put on a show.
Fingers Crossed for Bonneville Speed Week 2016
While the outlook for Bonneville Speed Week 2016 isn't stellar at this point, we're still keeping our fingers crossed that the weather and ground conditions allow a little land speed racing come August. Watching footage from Jeff Gerner's record-setting run at Bonneville just gets us too geared up to think about missing the chance for the third year in a row to see him top that. So we will block it from our minds for now and, instead, leave you with the video from that incredible Speed Week. Just don't blink.
- Penrod, Emma. "Utah lawmakers urge BLM to restore Bonneville Salt Flats for high-speed racing". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retreived Feb. 22: http://www.sltrib.com/news/3557738-155/utah-lawmakers-urge-blm-to-restore?fullpage=1
- Save the Salt Foundation, Utah Alliance, and Save the Salt Coalition. Joint press release. Retreived Feb. 22: http://d284f45nftegze.cloudfront.net/SaveTheSalt/GNRS%202016%20release.pdf