Venturi Buckeye Bullet III


During the week of August 18-22, 2014 Cook’s Landspeed Events prepped the international course and hosted speed trials for the Ohio State Buckeye Bullet III electric streamliner.  The outcome was a successful new record in the FIA’s Category A Group VIII Class 4. The team conducted numerous tests of the vehicle’s drive systems and worked their way up to a one way pass of 270 mph during the development process. The successful shakedown of the new vehicle means it will be back next year to challenge the higher speed range envisioned by its designers. The team’s press release is reproduced below.

COLUMBUS—Ohio State’s Venturi Buckeye Bullet team has successfully chased down yet another international record for electric land speed vehicles.

buckeye bullet IIIOn Friday, August 22, 2014 professional driver Roger Schroer guided the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 (VBB-3) to an average two-way speed of 212.615 miles per hour. The new record set by the VBB-3 is pending certification by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the worldwide motorsports governing body, in Category A Group VIII Class 8. This is a new competition category for the team, which had its most recent record-breaking vehicle (2010) set a record in FIA’s Category A Group VIII Class 4.

The VBB-3 was required to make two speed runs, one each in opposite directions and within 60 minutes, in order to be considered for the international record. While the record is officially determined by averaging the speed of the two runs in the middle of the eight mile course, the fastest time the VBB-3 exited timed middle mile—known as the flying mile—was at 270 miles per hour.

“This was an excellent first outing for the vehicle. The team faced daily trials but pushed forward,” says David Cooke, mechanical engineering graduate student and Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 team leader.

“Although our planned 11 days of racing was reduced to three days—and on a much shorter and slicker course—the team continued the quest for speed,” says Cooke. “We completed excellent test runs, learned a great deal and are ready to come back and go even faster. All of the  reports from the driver and the data that we’ve processed show that this is by far the most capable vehicle we’ve ever built.”

The electric streamliner has been designed and built by undergraduate and graduate students over the past four years at the university’s Center for Automotive Research in partnership with Monaco-based electric vehicle manufacturer, Venturi Automobiles which lends its 10-year expertise in electric vehicles and significant sponsorship funding to the students. It is propelled by two custom electric motors developed by Venturi Automobiles, and is powered by two megawatts of lithium ion batteries produced by A123 Systems.

Giorgio Rizzoni, the team advisor and director of the university’s Center for Automotive Research: “The Buckeye Bullet experience is a unique training opportunity and proving ground for our brightest and most dedicated students, many of whom have moved on to successful  careers in industry at companies such as Ford, Boeing, A123 and Lockheed Martin.”

The team has set numerous speed records during the past decade. In 2004 Buckeye Bullet 1, which ran on nickel metal hydride batteries, set a national land speed record with an average time of 315 miles per hour (506.9 kilometers per hour). Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2, the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell-powered land speed electric vehicle, set the international record of 303 miles per hour (487.6 kilometers per hour) in 2009. Then in 2010, Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2.5 set the record for world’s fastest electric vehicle at 307.6 miles per hour (495 kilometers per hour), powered by lithium ion batteries.

“We can’t wait to get back on the track and continue the journey to 400 miles per hour with an electric vehicle,” comments Cooke.

Photo Gallery: All Photos Copyright John Baechtel