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Man breaks a record in diesel-engine car

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A British pilot broke a land-speed record Tuesday for driving a car powered by diesel engines faster than anyone else in the world.

Andy Green broke the supercharged diesel streamliner world record on Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats by more than 100 mph by reaching an average land speed of 328.767 mph.

The former record for land speed using diesel engines was 235.756 mph, set by Virgil Snyder on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1973.

The land-speed attempt was observed by the FIA, the international governing body of racing. FIA rules require two passes be made within an hour to arrive at an average speed. Green's first run was clocked at 324.265 mph and his return run at 333.364 mph, said David Petrali, FIA's representative at the 11-mile track.

The record will likely become official when a FIA board meets next month.

Green drove a vehicle powered by two large diesel engines that have a combined total of 1,500 horsepower. Each is a 4-cylinder, 4.4-liter engine used commercially as a backhoe loader. The engines are twice as powerful as ones found in a Formula One race car, but use only half the fuel.

Green said he only used about 1,200 horsepower because the vehicle couldn't handle any more than that. The tires on the car are designed to go no faster than 350 mph, and Green's crew said the car is capable of going 400 mph. The vehicle has six gears, but only five were used Tuesday.

Green will be at the Bonneville Salt Flats the rest of the week and might try to break his own record.

"We have another 300 (horsepower) available to us if we need it and if we can get the car to cope with it," he said. "Having a perfect engine is only part of it. Everything has to work together."

The vehicle Green drove was first built three months ago. It was completely rebuilt three days ago following testing at Speed Week, when the vehicle reached an average speed of 308 mph Thursday. That run was not observed by FIA.

"This car didn't exist three months ago. That's remarkable," he said.

Green also set the first-ever supersonic world land speed record in 1997 at 763.035 mph.

On the Net: www.jcbdieselmax.com