For as long as it has run — a staggering 105 years — the variety of machines that have come to Bonneville Speedway to run the hallowed salt is incredible. Simply put, if it has wheels and can maintain a straight line, it can and will be found at Bonneville.
Although Japanese tuning houses have long been addicted to the allure of the salt, some of the most famous J-tin to run at Bonneville wasn’t from Japan at all — in fact it was from the good ol’ US of A, in particular the FD RX-7 built and campaigned by Racing Beat.
Why are we banging on about about an American tuning house? Well, it’s all because of the video below, which popped up during a search through the infinitly time-consuming pit that is the internet.
Shot back in 1992, it documents the ill-fated run of Racing Beat’s new 760hp turbocharged three-rotor FD3S RX-7 project (white). The goal was to break the C/Blown Modified Sports record of 241mph, but things went pear-shaped at 230mph when the rear came around and sent the car into a vicious flip before landing on the roof and sliding for some distance — Racing Beat co-founder Jim Mederer was behind the wheel at the time.
The crash was a big setback, and no doubt a scary moment for Mederer, yet the team were undeterred and quickly got to work rebuilding the car for another go at the record.
In 1995, Racing Beat returned with the FD sporting a murdered-out black livery. The goalposts had shifted over the three-year period, and they were now aiming to clock 300mph — unfortunately due to the conditions, their top speed wouldn’t reach that mark. What they did set, though, was a bloody impressive 242mph run — a run that nearly ended in disaster when the rear once again came around at speed, but was luckily corrected multiple times thanks to the deployed chute.
It was officially the world’s fastest RX-7, a record that the team still holds today. Soon after this, Mazda discontinued the RX-7 in the United States, and Racing Beat’s land-speed programme came to an end.
We’d love to see Racing Beat return to the salt with a quad-rotor RX-8 to finally hit that 300mph mark — anyone want to set it up?