Life is Great with a 6.0-liter V8
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  • Road Trip: Day 39

    Posted on October 6th, 2012 tcorzett 1 comment

    For a day spent mostly driving on the interstate, today was adrenaline packed!

    It started very late, as I didn’t really know where I wanted to drive. Since I essentially did my planned drive (Provo to Salt Lake City) yesterday, I had options. I was looking at drive “The Loneliest Road in America“, but didn’t like the 9hr 39min estimated travel time. I had made several hotel reservations for tonight, and even considered just staying staying in Salt Lake for another night, but decided to hit the road and drive I-80 to Elko, Nevada.

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    When I first planned my trip, today was going to be spent in the Tooele area. I spent 6 months there for work a few years ago, and it’s always great to see people again. Unfortunately the restaurant I always eat at has closed and Miller Motorsports Park didn’t have any driving events available. Since there wasn’t anything to do there I just passed by the exit.

    The “only” exciting thing today was the mandatory stop at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Last year when I stopped at the Salt Flast it was early in the day and the place was deserted, but not this year. I noticed a few race cars at the gas station just off the interstate, then spotted several cars/trucks making their way off the salt. After stopping to take a few pictures, I spoke with some people about what was going on today, then headed out onto the salt!

    Turns out the past few days the SCTA was running the “World Finals“. The event wrapped-up earlier today, but there were still a few cars in the pits packing-up.

    The people at the main road (in a rental car) described the flats as a “free for all” where I could do anything I wanted, but I knew better than to believe that. I parked the G8 and walked over to one of the crews to ask a few questions.

    Since the official event for the weekend was over the “track” was being dismantled (timing loops, cones, etc.), so doing a run on the race surface was out. The 3 mile stretch from the main road to the pits was in good condition and more than long enough for what I wanted to do. Before setting-out on my run I took a few photos of the G8 out on the salt.

    On my way out to the pits I had scouted the section; slowly increasing speeds, testing what it’s like to stop/turn on the salt, etc. In preparation for a high speed run I checked tire pressures, verified oil/fuel pressures, watched fuel trims, etc. Since I knew I wasn’t going to be focusing on the speedometer during the run I reset the “max speed” history on my GPS. I also attached a couple GoPro video cameras for additional documentation of the run.

    When I saw I had several miles of salt to myself I headed out on my run. I slowly brought the speed up, getting a good feel for everything. After checking the G8’s vitals one last time I down-shifted and pushed the peddle to the floor!

    I’ve had the G8 up over 100mph several times on pavement, but the salt is an entirely different animal. On a road you have a clear definition of where you need to go, with lanes marked by bright colored paint. On the salt there is just a vast white surface. Any imperfections that can upset the car at high speeds are nearly invisible, it’s even difficult to see where you want to go since everything is so flat and landmarks are so far away.

    Above ~130mph I started to hear some wind noise from the driver’s side door, but it’s happened before… so I pushed-on. Above ~150mph I was starting to really feel the stress of the speed, and my mind was racing with the “what if’s”. My eyes were darting left/right in front of me trying to spot anything flying my direction that could upset the car. The sounds from the engine and exhaust had turned into a constant roar, but I’d not yet heard the rev-limiter. While I tried to hold-out a little more, I just couldn’t take it and backed-off the throttle. I had pushed to ~6200rpms in 5th gear and a top speed of 168mph!

    I pulled off the Salt Flats and and back onto the paved road… trying to comprehend what had just happened. I stopped at the local gas station for some water and Bonneville swag, but the adrenaline was still flowing. My mind was lost… I couldn’t understand what the cashier was saying (I asked him about where to find a car wash) and even left my credit card behind! Before heading back to the interstate I forced myself to stop and re-equilibrate to reality.

    The remainder of my drive was a bit of a blur, as I kept thinking about my run on at Bonneville. After checking into my hotel I made my way to a car wash to get the salt off the G8 and to get some dinner. Now I need to get some sleep; somehow…


    One response to “Road Trip: Day 39”

    1. i stumbled upon your blog while looking for a drone-free exhaust on g8, then ended up spending 30min looking through these entries of the landscapes (and the G8). what a grand journey you had there…

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