Steam car set for speed record bid

The nephew of the late speed ace Donald Campbell has successfully tested a British-built supercar in Hampshire ahead of its bid to break a world land speed record for steam-powered vehicles.

Testing took place at the Ministry of Defence's Thorney Island facility in Emsworth, where the 25ft-long British Steam Car - dubbed the "fastest kettle in the world" - reached speeds of up to 60mph on tarmac.

The vehicle uses a combination of boilers and burners to produce superheated steam that powers its turbine.

Driver Don Wales, who is also the grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell, said: "We got to no more than 60mph, probably around 58mph or 59mph before I applied the parachute and all the systems worked perfectly well. As the car was building up steam, you could hear it gurgling and the steam was flowing."

Mr Wales and his support team now hope to break a 103-year-old record by improving on the 127mph reached by American Fred Marriott driving a Stanley steam car in 1906 at the Daytona Beach Road Course.

The British team hope to overhaul the longest officially-recognised land speed record in California in June by reaching a target velocity of 170mph with their car.

Copyright © Press Association 2009