Team Vesco goes 353 MPH with electrons for motive power

In the tight, proud community of land speed racing, Team Vesco of Rockville, Utah, is one of the sport’s grandest, most accomplished and most historic names. The act of going blindingly fast across not-so-smooth salt at Bonneville is at once arcane and uplifting, and the Vesco boys are royalty. Team patriarch Don Vesco, now enshrined in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America here in Daytona Beach, was the first guy to run faster than 300 MPH on the salt aboard a motorcycle, and later set an absolute FIA record for wheel-driven vehicles of 458 MPH in his Turbinator that still stands today, nearly 20 years after the elder Vesco died of cancer. Team Vesco has changed with times and technology, and now owns a completely different sort of Bonneville record.

The Little Giant, as the team calls it, is an all-electric car running in the Streamliner class that now owns the National E3 Electric land speed record. New York City native Eric Ritter squeezed himself inside the roll cage and fired off a two-way average of 353 MPH, erasing the previous mark by no less that 12 MPH. The powertrain, designed by reVolt Systems of Oceanside, California, mates a pack of 1,152 prismatic lithium-ion batteries with a pair of heavily modified Tesla propulsion motors. Under FIA rules, passes in each way over the measured mile at the Bonneville Salt Flats have to be completed within a 60-minute window for the record to be official. Team Vesco is shooting for 400 MPH with electric power, the technology and team history strongly suggesting that 400 is an attainable target.

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