2003 mg zzt land speed record car
MG Rover Group has applied to the Guinness World Records for the World's Fastest Estate car / Station Wagon record. The MG ZT-T, codenamed X-15, reached a top speed of 225.609 mph (360.9 km/h) at the August 2003, 55th annual Bonneville Speed Week Nationals, on the Salt Flats in Utah, USA.
In 2002 Nick Stephenson, deputy chairman of Phoenix Venture Holdings, himself an accomplished drag racer in the UK, together with MG Rover design director Peter Stevens, of McLaren F1 fame, decided to build a 200 mph estate derived from the forthcoming MG ZT-T V8.
Their reasoning was four-fold: to leverage MG's illustrious Bonneville history which dates back to 1951 and a string of records; to demonstrate the fundamental qualities of strength and safety inherent in the MG ZT range; to halo the introduction of some exciting new V8-powered MG models and to support engine development work for the planned ultra high performance versions of MG's XPower SV sports car.
"This is not just about setting world records, this is about testing MG's vehicles to their limits, in some of the most extreme conditions you can find in the world. The added challenges of meeting strict technical and safety regulations which are set by the Southern California Timing Association make our achievement of 225.609 mph with a virtually stock MG ZT-T all the more satisfying," says Peter Stevens.
Roush Performance was chosen for the powertrain development and they delivered an awesome 6.0-litre V8 with electronic fuel injection that develops 765 horsepower without the aid of an intercooler, let alone a blower or turbo. More than enough, it was felt, to propel the ZT-T to its goal of 200 mph.
Initial testing of the car in May and June of this year at El Mirage Dry Lake indicated that the goal was, in fact, achievable. On its very first official "shakedown" pass the ZT-T ran 164 mph. The following month, now with sponsorship from Mobil 1, the car made a licensing pass at 181.521 mph.
New vehicles which are running for the first time at Bonneville are required to run on the short course at a speed of more than 175 mph, before being allowed to run on the long course where speeds are measured at three, four and five mile markers as well as the terminal speed.
A further two miles are available for slowing the cars. Cars running at over 185 mph are required to fit speed reducing parachutes. These 'chutes safely slow the cars in a stable manner to around 100 mph after which the brakes are used to stop at the seven mile marker.
In August, the So-Cal Racing Team accompanied by Nick, Peter, and the Roush crew made the 700-plus mile trek to Bonneville where the car was so "on target" it was almost an anticlimax as driver, Bonneville veteran Pat Kinne clicked off a licensing pass of 207 mph on the Bonneville 'short course', backed up with a blistering 223 mph pass on the long course. Some minor pitch-attitude tweaking saw the ZT-T make a final run at 225.609 mph (306.9 km/h).
"Bonneville and record breaking is a very important part of MG history," says Nick Stephenson. "225 mph with our ZT-T is part of our future, because it signals the direction for further high performance models."
The 225.609 mph Bonneville MG ZT-T V8
Design: MG Sport and Racing and the So-Cal Speed Shop
Build: So-Cal Speed Shop
Standard MG ZT-T estate body shell
Full SCTA/BNI spec roll cage
Gas tank relocated to the safety of the rear of the vehicle
Custom transmission tunnel
3 x Flame Out fire systems
Custom subframe incorporating Morrison cross-member, struts, A-arms and modified Flaming River rack and pinion steering
Morrison ladder bars
Wilwood discs and hubs
Aldan Eagle coil-over shocks
6.0-litre electronic fuel injected, Ford SVO motor by Roush Racing
Approximately 765 horsepower
Headers by John West Fabrications
Dry sump oil system
Carbon fibre intake manifold
K&N air filter
Fuel management by EFI
Data acquisition by PI Systems
Roush water pump
Meziere electric water pump
Weldon fuel pump
Lakewood scattershield modified by Roush
Quarter Master starter
8-inch Quarter Master clutch
Jerico 5-speed manual transmission
Winters heavy duty Champ quick change
11-inch Currie drums
Taylor Made wheels: 15x4.5 front, 15x5.0 rear
Goodyear Eagle land speed tyres: 25x4.5x15 front, 28x4.5x15 rear
Custom built exhaust
Mobil fuel and lubricants
Jaz race seats
DJ harnesses and window nets
Chute Metal Race Products parachute