“A Life-Threatening Attack, FC3S Gone Airborne…” The Story of the Man Who Challenged the World’s Max Speed with a Fully Tuned FC3S / Part 3 [DANDY x FC3S the Max Speed Throne Capture Plan 2010]
An unbelievably huge crash! A shocking outcome awaits…
Aim to renew Racing Beat’s record with a 2-year plan!
Day 5 (8/18 Wed.)
Unexpectedly bad road surface conditions and plateaued engine revs
Mr. Tanaka’s planned scenario for his first long course: to overcome Racing Beat’s record of 238.442 mph and stay under 249 mph. This means to obtain both the A license and a new record run at the same time. Rei, who witnessed Tanaka’s previous attacks, was confident that he could certainly aim for 249 mph and agreed with his plan.
Since shifting at 9000 rpm from third to fourth gear will take you out of the power band, (they) changed the CP settings for the first time in order to increase the rev limit. They successfully upped the rev limit from 9200 rpm to 9500 rpm.
Rei acquired these licenses the day before the challenge. From A to E in order from the top, each class is a different color. There are AA licenses (250 to 299 mph) above A licenses, and beyond that are the Unlimited licenses (300 mph or more).
Tanaka kept notes and cigarettes on him at all times; he preferred to jot down his thoughts and be able to look over them whenever he wants. In order to renew the class record, he faced the dilemma of pulling through in fourth gear, or to keep in fifth.
According to Tanaka, “A 5-speed overdrive gear would create a larger burden on the transmission, so if possible, I want to challenge the max speed with a 4-speed direct gear. Because it’s a second-hand genuine transmission, the durability is unknown, and in calculations it reaches 390 km/h (242.335 mph) at 9000 rpm. Though, considering the engine load, it’s also a possibility to pull up to 9000 rpm in fourth gear and maintain the rpm without accelerating when in fifth gear.”
However, after the attack, they discovered that the power in fourth gear saturated at 7300 rpm, and the boost pressure was only 1.2 kg. The top speed remained at 204.161 mph.
Rei said, “With overdrive at its peak, the engine didn’t respond well. Moreover, the road surface conditions were the worst. We held up as much as possible, and yet we started spinning twice. For this reason, aiming above 200 mph would probably be tough…”
Although this time they ran the long course, after checking the road course conditions, they decided on the combo (short and long) course for the next attack. Furthermore, after checking for issues with the air-fuel ratio and suction parts, they altered the VVC by a half rotation and adjusted the maximum boost pressure to around 1.6 kg.
There were a total of three courses; starting from the pit side: long, combo, and short. There were no viewing issues concerning the closest long course, whereas the farther combo course was harder to distinguish the various cars.
The wind had picked up. When we shifted our gaze to the starting line, heavy gray clouds covered the sky as raindrops began to fall–an oppressive atmosphere.
From afar, a vehicle producing a thin line of smoke gradually approaches. Was it the FC3S? Or another car? As it accelerated faster and sped into our direct line of sight, the vehicle started showing unnatural movements. At this point we all confirmed that it started spinning–we did not expect the following moment that flashed before our eyes.
It was as though the car was weightless; the body floated through the air for a few seconds. Then, from the roof, it struck violently onto the road. With an irregular uproar of smoke, the vehicle slid away. It took about 100 m for the kinetic energy to die down. In its flipped state, the car had finally come to a halt.
Kobayashi, the cameraman, immediately checked the footage, and we all doubted our ears.
“The FC3S went airborne!”
Since GT class machines that aren’t able to equip aeroparts have small downforce, we assumed that they would stay on the road… This crash blew away our common knowledge. Although we can only decipher from the photos, the FC3S had definitely flown up about 5 meters into the air.
The crash was an intense shock, and likewise, we assumed the worst situation possible. Was Rei okay? What was the damage? Unable to stay still, we jumped in the rental with the cameraman and recklessly took the quickest route by intersecting the long course.
The FC3S gradually appeared into our view. The roof was wrecked terribly. When we got out of the rental and rushed over, through the largely broken front window, we saw Rei sitting in the driver’s seat, not moving.
This should not have happened. Unable to emotionally prepare for what might come next, we watched in disbelief as an official pried open the jammed door with a crowbar and pulled Rei out of the vehicle.
They moved Rei into a seating position and removed his helmet. The moment we witnessed Rei exchanging a few words with the staff and officials who were surrounding him, we felt extremely relieved.
On the other hand, the FC3S was obviously totaled. According to the officials, “It was going 217 mph at the 2-mile mark,” and while it was still accelerating, the tragedy had occurred.
A trolley with a special crane hooked the FC3S and quickly carried it off the course. On the right side of the crane, another vehicle was present; this was most likely to prevent the pit from seeing the crashed car.
The deformation of the left-side A pillar and front fender that collapsed explicitly showed the strength of the striking impact from the road surface. Meanwhile, the hood and headlight paint was mottled from sliding upside down and rubbing against the road surface.
The front tower bar had a raised center and consequently deformed. At a closer glance, the heights of the left and right strut towers were also shifted. Thus, the shock transmitted throughout an unimaginable way.
Salt was all over the interior. The driver side rollcage most likely went under a few tons of pressure at the instant the car hit the ground; the rollcage’s sturdiness astounded us nonetheless.
The seat position was equally important. In fact, if there was no instruction to offset it inwards during the vehicle inspection, the helmet and rollcage would consequently have heavily collided. With this in mind, we were made aware of the event organizer’s serious emphasis on safety precautions.
The fuel line was not only crushed, but also broken from the base. Fortunately, there was no vehicle fire due to fuel leakage.
In addition, the C-pillar was deeply rumpled. There was a large gap between the rear gate and body panel in the entirely deformed monocoque. Both the rear suspension and muffler were also horizontally shifted.
The helmet showed traces of scratches all around. There was seemingly considerable force between it and the HANS device; despite the carbon material, there was a crack about 10 cm wide at the bottom.
Rei was admitted to a hospital 200 kilometers away in Salt Lake City for further treatment. The corset around the neck looked painful, but luckily he had no major injuries or issues with consciousness. Rei was speaking with Tanaka-san about the details of the crash that he remembered clearly.
Alas, this was the end of DANDY FC3S’s Bonneville challenge. Renewing the Racing Beat class record was unfortunately also an unrealized dream.
They discovered, however, that immediately before the crash, the car shined brilliantly. It was none other than Rei, who vouched for its mighty feat.
■ATTACK for A License
Measurement point Passing speed
2mile 165.623 mph
2.25mile 183.387 mph
3mile 190.232 mph
4mile 204.205 mph
5mile 192.328 mph
*Acquisition requirements：200 – 249 mph
The fastest rotary machine in Japan, scattered over Salt Flats…
Details of the astounding crash captured by the photographer
This was the moment the rear broke loose. The slight counter-steer and the salt smoke formed by the rear tires spread horizontally.
The amount of tail slide gradually increased. At this point, the driver was no longer in control.
It was basically sideways and the front and rear right wheels began to float. The twist of the body or the wind pressure from below significantly distorted the hood.
Floating from the rear and completely airborne, it was flipped upside down in a rotating motion.
The formerly affixed sunroof panel blew away as the car struck against the road surface from its left A-pillar.
While sliding, it rotated once in a counterclockwise direction, but the front rebounded in the direction of travel. Perhaps due to the impact when landing, the hazards appeared to be on.
Right after the car stopped, the officials arrived. They then rushed to the vehicle to confirm the driver’s safety.
●PHOTO: Katsuyoshi KOBAYASHI/TEXT: Kentaro HIROSHIMA
● “Year 2 of the Battle Begins” The Story of the Man Who Challenged the World’s Max Speed with a Fully Tuned FC3S / Part 1
● “Scenario for the Record Run” The Story of the Man Who Challenged the World’s Max Speed with a Fully Tuned FC3S / Part 2