World's Fastest Audi
Iconic, a shrine to speed, over the last hundred years, the Bonneville Salt Flats have become the mecca for gearheads.
It is a place that is revered and idolized by the renegades risking it all to break records, and fans that have come to recognize its status through popular culture and media.
Most recently, the Bonneville Salt Flats had a guest spot on the series finale of Mad Men. In the opening scene, the show’s protagonist Don Draper hurtles down the flats, behind the wheel of a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS.
For the show’s timeline, this was just a few years after world-famous 68-year-old Burt Munro set his still-standing 183.58 mph record on his 47-year-old Indian motorcycle. His accomplishments are better known worldwide by the title of a 2005 motion picture based on this event, “The World’s Fastest Indian.”
Fast-forward to 2015, and Area Diesel Service has a very close connection to speed-records, Bonneville and “The World’s Fastest Audi-an.”
Jeff Gerner, a 62-year-old retired automotive fleet maintenance manager, holds the Bonneville record for the F Production Supercharged at 236.599 mph in his 22-year-old Audi S4.
The 1993 Audi qualified for its record with an average speed of 250.009 mph with a terminal speed of 260 mph.
“The 250 mile speed was timed at mile four. However, on the ‘back-up’ run, I only drove to mile three, which forced us to take our mile three time from the qualifying run and did not let us use the 250 mph speed in the two-day average, which comprises the records,” Gerner recalled.
“This is why our current record is at 236.99 mph and a big reason why we are going back, to make two full passes at the car’s full top speed.”
In early 2014, Gerner was introduced to Val Leefers and his Illinois-based company, Area Diesel Service, Inc., a Franchise Distributor of BorgWarner turbochargers.
Area Diesel experts supplied Gerner with an S400SX3 BorgWarner performance turbocharger and the build began.
Of course, like most great projects, this was not without setbacks. In June of 2014, just two months shy of Bonneville Speed Week, Gerner shared some devastating news.
“We made 1048 wheel horsepower at 10,000 rpm,” said Gerner, “this would have been enough for 270 mph, but the engine began to run rich and we could not figure out why.”
“We found out that (horribly) the air to water intercooler had broken internally and sent a big dose of water straight through the combustion chambers. The pistons and rings have sustained some sort of damage from the stratospheric pressures created by the water going through the engine. It is just so heart breaking to put so much planning and effort into building a perfect motor and then to have some ancillary component failure destroy your work.”
Although all seemed lost for 2014, when August rolled around there was a small silver lining. For only the second time in the event’s history, Bonneville Speed Week had been cancelled.
“A whole lot of people towed 1000 plus miles to the event only to have to turn around and go home. Very sad deal, but I am sure thankful I didn't kill myself and my budget to get the Audi back together, and then go out there to have that happen,” said Gerner.
In the months following the rained-out 2014 Speed Week, Gerner has been kept very busy getting the Bonneville racer back together and keeping up with his customer’s work load.
Gerner owns Four Ring Performance Engineering in Missouri and specializes in engine builds. Four Ring caters to clients looking for precision and meticulous cylinder head work, custom porting, valve work, engine balancing, engine block decking, full blueprinting and custom bearing clearances for extreme service durability, among other high performance and racing engine design and construction services.
Gerner has spent much of 2015 readying the Audi for the chance at breaking records this August at Bonneville Speed Week.
This May, the racer is back together and was put on the dyno.
“The dyno session, performed this year on a very stingy Mustang dyno, couldn’t have gone more perfectly,” recalled Gerner, “the engine surpassed expectations, and the BorgWarner turbo performance was huge in the overall performance.”
“Thanks to Area Diesel Service and BorgWarner for their expertise and support in perfectly sizing our turbocharger for the unique challenges of Land Speed Racing at Bonneville – the BorgWarner Match-Bot system gave us a perfectly sized turbo for this extreme environment.”
With such amazing results on the inside, Gerner will be spending time on the sedan’s stability, ballasting, and chassis weighting before Bonneville.
“The speed is likely to be 260 mph, and I don’t want this thing to take flight,” Gerner explained.
“Our BorgWarner S400SX3, with its 82mm compressor and 87mm turbine allowed the Audi’s engine to produce 955 wheel horsepower, with great response and zero drop in power at 10,000 rpm,” exclaimed Gerner, “this is all the more remarkable given the responsive nature of the turbo.” This action was captured on video and can be seen on the ADS homepage!
Area Diesel, BorgWarner, Four Ring, and especially Gerner are looking forward to a record-breaking run at Bonneville Speed Week this August.
God Speed and best of luck to you, Jeff!
Area Diesel and The Well Revved Blog will post more updates and results on this project in the coming months.
More information on Jeff Gerner and his business, Four Ring Performance can be found at his company’s website - FourRingPerformance.com.
Additional information on his 2012 run at Bonneville Speed Week and a video of the run can be found at Quattroworld.com.
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