320km/h, 895kW... Can this Porsche 911 Turbo S break the 'fastest car on sand' record?

<i>Image: Newspress</i>
<i>Image: Newspress</i>

Land speed racer and record-setting motorcycle rider Zef Eisenberg and his MadMax Race Team have got a new target in their sights.

During the weekend of April 6-7 2019, Zef will aim to become the first person to achieve a British land speed record on a bike and car within a year. The goal is to hit 320km/h and beyond in a crazy 895kW specially built road legal Porsche 911 Turbo S on sand.

A world first

The attempt will take place at Pendine Sands in South Wales. In May 2018, Eisenberg became the first person to exceed 320km/h with a wheel-driven vehicle, at this world famous speed track.

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He reached 324km/h on his supercharged Suzuki Hayabusa laying down the marker as the 'fastest motorbike on sand' in the world, just 20 months after surviving Britain’s fastest-ever 370km/h motorcycle crash.

Eisenberg spent three months in hospital, followed by three months in a wheel chair, but defied the odds to race again in under a year.

Since the crash, he’s set numerous records – including an ACU sanctioned flying quarter-mile, flying kilometre and flying mile, on his MadMax road legal supercharged Suzuki Hayabusa, albeit heavily modified. This 'twin' record attempt, however, is something very different, as is the outrageous car that MadMax Race Team has built specially for it.

The perfect car?

"I’m well known for setting records on bikes," said Eisenberg, "so people started asking me why not cars?'

It got Zef thinking, so after meticulous research into what would be needed to top 320km/h on sand, Eisenberg settled on a 2015 410kW Porsche 911 Turbo S.

There was just one problem: Although this car is very fast, it will 'only do 281km/h' in a mile on Tarmac. To achieve 320km/h on tarmac within a mile (1.6km) would, the car would need 560kW at the wheels.

Sand creates a lot of resistance and tyre slip, so we worked out that we’d need at least 746kW at the rear wheels, which equates to a crazy 895kW at the engine, compared to just 410kW from the factory.

The MadMax race team therefore hand built a bespoke 4.2-litre Porsche motorsport engine with new stronger internals, upgraded Turbo’s, plus a new E85 fuel system, advanced cooling set-up and far more.

A lot of work was done to ensure that the monstrous power would come in as smoothly as possible in order to limit wheelspin on the loose surface. To cope with such an extreme output, the gearbox and clutch needed to be extensively upgraded, and the brakes and suspension modified to allow for different wheels and tyres.

Apart from a full FIA roll cage, competition seats and safety harness, the Porsche’s interior is completely standard.

"Weight is actually your friend on sand. It’s about stability – putting enough weight on the tyres to increase traction. Even though, we have accidentally made the car 140kg lighter than standard, we have no need to strip weight out," said Eisenberg.

"The car is actually road legal, so we will drive it from the hotel onto the beach and to the restaurant after, hopefully to celebrate," he added.

For the two-wheeled part of the record, Eisenberg will be riding his specially built 260kW supercharged Suzuki 'MadMax' Hayabusa.

More Pendine records

The Pendine attempt comes 55 years after John Surtees won the Formula 1 title, becoming the first – and so far only – man to win the world championship on two wheels and four.

It was also in 1964 that Donald Campbell CBE became the first man to set speed records on both land and water in the same year. Pendine is the same venue that Sir Malcolm Campbell raced his aero engine Bluebird to a maximum speed of 280km/h in 1927.

Porsche Car beach scene

                                                                        Image: Newspress

"I’ve well and truly caught the speed addiction. It’s in my blood. Each run itself might only be between 25 and 40 seconds, but a new record is just the icing on the cake, after years of research and experimentation.

"Those who are addicted to speed, will understand – "it’s all about the quest to overcome the challenge and battle the laws of physics," concludes Eisenberg.

Spectators are welcome to attend the land speed record attempts in designated safety areas.

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