What you are about to witness is the start of something unbelievable. Something that isn't considered in Australia very often. Back in 1983, Trevor Slaughter was a drag fanatic. Racing Top Fuelers down the quarter mile for many years, his heart and soul adapted to the speed and adrenaline of the 240+MPH passes. One day Trevor knew it was time to take it to the next level. In 1985 Trevor and a small group of people started to design and plan out the very basics of a Salt Lake Racer. In 1988 the team drew out the body design of what could be the fastest wheel driven automobile ever to cut through the salt. Things had begun to get serious. In 2006, after 20 years of designing, planning and budgeting, Slaughter Motorsport officially had a new project, a Salt Lake Racer.
Driving to the location I didn't know what to expect, my head was trying to draw ideas on what the car was going to look like and what space I was going to have to work with. One thing I love about shooting cars is the surprise when you actually arrive, most of the time it's never as you expect which gives us a challenge each and every time. I have to say, walking into the workshop I was completely blown out of the water. Ray and Trevor immediately asked what I thought of it, I was literally speechless. Watching videos of these machines breaking 450+MPH on the Salt is amazing, but seeing one in the flesh really does stun you. I could only imagine witnessing one slash through the salt flats at Bonneville.
After a brief overview of the machine, I found myself in the most claustrophobic seat I've ever put my backside in. After getting my breathing under control I managed to pick the camera up and take some photos. It was ultimately dreamy inside, completely silent. All I could hear was the sound of my breath and the noise of the shutter release bouncing off the roof.
One of the first things I noticed was, it didn't feel anything like a car. With all the gauges, levers and buttons sitting inside, it felt like an aircraft more than anything else.
On the left you'll notice two levers side by side, both are for the parachutes. The one closest to me is the high speed whereas the other is the lower speed chute.
Straight in front of your eyes there are two gauges, the one at the rear is the air speed indicator and the one in front is a boost gauge.
On the right hand side of the cabin there are a number of things. The red handle down below is the brake lever. The silver lever is the fuel shut off and the fire buttons are to extinguish the fire bottles throughout the car.
On the steering wheel, you may notice two little red buttons. This one is the gear shifter …
… and the one behind it is to activate the team radio.
After sitting in the cockpit for a few minutes, the roof finally opened up and I was back to reality. Believe it or not the racer has been built from the ground up in this very workshop.
I bet you're all wondering what is going to be driving this beast. The racer will be evolving through a two stage process. The first motor that will be used is a Toyota 2JZ, a 6 cylinder, 3.0 litre engine that they are hoping to crack just over 2,000 horsepower with. With the 2-JZ installed the team are hoping to break the 350MPH barrier.
The second motor to be installed will be a Gas Turbine motor direct from a helicopter. Once this change has taken place the car will be transformed from 2WD into a 4WD that will rev to a whopping 9,000rpm. Both the 2JZ and this motor will be monitored by Motech equipment with their monitors placed all throughout the racer. With this motor Slaughter Motorsports are hoping to break Donald Campbell's Australian record of 403MPH. If that is broken they will push the limits and hope to crack 450MPH which is currently being held by Dan Vesco, being the world record for a wheel driven automobile.
As I'm new to all the Salt Lake competition, Trevor showed me a couple of videos of the world record runs.
If you are going to be cutting through the Salt Lakes at 400+MPH good brakes are essential. This Wilwood system, direct from the USA, will be sure to pull the machine to a halt …
… with the help of two sets of parachutes, both high and low speed.
On the left side directly next to the cabin you'll notice a square cutout. This is the engine, oil and coolant pre-heat hose fittings from Speedflow. As the car will burn too much fuel by allowing it to idle, letting everything warm beforehand by connecting the relevant hoses via these plugs to warm all the liquids in the motor.
On the top, front half there are a few cutouts. These have been designed to access parts easier incase something goes wrong. The panel right at the front is the tow hook screw mount.
This is the main panel which operates all the power and to activate the air inside the cabin for the pilot.
Here is a clearer photo of the rear. The large stainless pipe with the doll-face stuffed in it is where the exhaust will exit at the rear.
To fit the custom headers they've had to make a mould on the exterior of the body as you can see here.
The 2-JZ has been installed but isn't 100% yet. There are still add-ons to go such as these amazing headers…
…and these Turbosmart wastegates. This 2-JZ is going to sound brilliant.
The Winters differential is still out of the car for some final touches, all the custom axles have been made by the team to fit the chassis.
Moving around the workshop there are hundreds of parts that are yet to be installed in the racer. Here you'll find the dry-sump for the 2JZ and plenty of cooling parts.
From what I've been told, before each run on the salt, the path will be cleared with a large metal bar which is dragged on the back of a truck. Regardless of this, suspension has to be precise in trying to avoid as many bumps as possible to cut out drag. The suspension consists of: Afco gas and hydraulic coilovers.
Aerodynamics is key when trying to travel nearly as quick as a Boeing aircraft. All around the body are air intake NACA ducts which are near completion.
All throughout the vehicle cameras will be running to monitor everything. In the engine bay, brakes, interior and exterior. If you have a look on the rear spoiler you'll see a small hole, this is where the outside camera will be placed.
To give you an indication on how big the turbo is, we placed Ray's iPhone next to it.
Trevor and Ray are both looking for major sponsorship. If this is gained, the racer will be painted the companies colours, if not this is the colour they've chosen.
I will be sure to keep you up to date with this amazing piece of machinery. I hope to visit Trevor and Ray very soon. Hopefully next time I visit the car will be painted.