Zef Eisenberg Returns To Pendine Sands In Porsche 911 Turbo To Break Idris Elba’s Land Speed Record
Record-breaking racer Zef Eisenberg and the MADMAX Race Team are returning to the legendary Pendine Sands in South Wales this weekend, aiming to smash the highest speed ever achieved by a wheel-powered vehicle. Eisenberg, as well as being the founder of MAXImuscle, is better known for racing motorbikes, and just last month at Pendine he established a “Flying Mile” record on a specially-made 400bhp supercharged Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle built and prepared by his MADMAX team, setting a two-way average of 182.40mph. The record also came less than two years after Eisenberg survived Britain’s fastest ever motorcycle crash, at some 230mph, after which Eisenberg defied doctors by racing one year later. Since, Eisenberg has set numerous records including an ACU-sanctioned flying quarter-mile, flying kilometre and flying mile.
Eisenberg now makes the switch to four wheels in the hope of hitting the 200mph barrier and beyond in a specially-built and road-legal 1200bhp Porsche 911 Turbo Sand Racer, which the team has been carrying out extensive research and development on over the last 12 months, having bought it as a 550bhp machine! The record, if broken, would supersede The Wire star Idris Elba’s Flying Mile speed record, of 180.361mph, set at Pendine in 2015 in his 650bhp Bentley Continental GT Speed as part of a TV documentary. It also would emulate Eisenberg’s hero Sir Malcolm Campbell, who first set the record at Pendine Sands, in 1927, of 174.883mph in the iconic Blue Bird—a record that stood for nearly 90 years—as well as set an average Flying Mile of 174.224mph.
Pendine is considered the holy grail of land speed. The beach has hosted record-breaking attempts since the 1900s, as when weather holds it delivers a firm, flat sand surface creating the longest straight line race track in the UK. The first person to use Pendine Sands for a world land speed record attempt was Malcolm Campbell in 1924, prior to him setting the marks mentioned at the same venue three years later.
“Sand creates a lot of resistance and tyre slip,” said Eisenberg, “so we had to work out that we’d need at least 1000bhp at the rear wheels, which equates to a crazy 1200bhp at the engine, compared to just 550bhp from a factory car.” The team has built a bespoke 4.1-litre engine with new internals, plus a new E85 fuel system and cooling set-up. Apart from a full FIA roll cage, competition seats and safety harness, the Porsche’s interior is completely standard. In recent testing at Elvington the car was achieving 220mph in the mile on tarmac, using just half the power planned for this weekend.
“Weight is actually your friend on sand,” Eisenberg added. “It’s about stability—putting enough weight on the tyres to increase traction. The car is also road legal, so I can drive it from the hotel onto the beach and hopefully to the pub after to celebrate.”
Images courtesy of MADMAX® Race Team