During July of 2001 Gravitron unveiled their newly designed Speed Record vehicle at Kemble Airfield in Gloucestershire. The modified race kart has been specially built to take the World Electric Land Speed Record for a vehicle in the under 500 kg weight class.
Luke Roberts, the pilot, got suited up and slid into the drivers seat. Morgan Nicholas, Gravitron MD, donned his crash helmet and mounted his Yamaha R1, the pace vehicle for the test. Both vehicles sat at the very furthest point of the runway, waiting for the message from Kemble tower that it was safe to proceed.
Gravitron - Electric LSR contender 500Kg Class
The radio signal came to give the all clear, the runway landing lights came on and the test began. Both vehicles surged up the runway. “I raced through the gears on the R1 to keep up with the outstanding acceleration of the kart.” said Morgan Nicholas, “We had calculated that the kart would achieve a speed of 125 mph in the distance available at Kemble, imagine my excitement when the Yam’s digital read out reached 135 mph when I was running alongside the kart”
"The kart was still accelerating but it was time to brake, I was running out of tarmac. I felt as though I needed to throw out an anchor.” added driver Luke Roberts “I knew we’d done well when I saw Morgan jumping for joy at the end of the runway.”
The return run was equally impressive, again achieving 135 mph. “Heading back towards the Gravitron crew and support team we wanted to let them all know how well we’d done and flashed past them at 120 mph, leaving it until the very last second to apply the brakes – stopping was a bit extreme!!” stated a delighted Morgan Nicholas.
Kemble runway is 1 ¼ miles long, running uphill with a ¼ mile after the crest leading down into the braking zone. Due to the short distance available it had been calculated that the kart would achieve and maintain a speed of 125 mph, but this was easily exceeded and 135 mph was achieved in both directions.
The kart weighs approx. 250kg. Driver 60kg. A total weight of 310kg. Fitted with 2 Gravitron LAAA4002 motors and 2 HE DATA 1000 amp controllers the vehicle developed 100hp during the test run on a 60 volt system. The vehicle was powered by ten Optima red top batteries.
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