At 503 mph, Turbinator II is the world’s fastest wheel-driven vehicle

You’d expect a car called Turbinator II to be fast. Sure enough, the bullet-shaped race car hit 482.646 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats in September 2018, setting a new world record for the fastest wheel-driven vehicle. But that wasn’t good enough for the car’s creators, Team Vesco. The team recently went back to Bonneville and achieved 503.332 mph.

Turbinator II went faster, but it didn’t set a new official record. That’s because land-speed records at Bonneville require two runs; the average speed of the two runs is what counts. Team Vesco wasn’t able to make a second run this time because of wet weather conditions on the flats, Autoweek reports.

Many land-speed record cars, such as the Bloodhound SSC, use thrust from jet or rocket engines to propel themselves to insane speeds. But Turbinator II sends power to its wheels, just like a conventional car. It actually has four-wheel drive, which is probably a good idea given the amount of power on tap.

Turbinator II uses a Lycoming turbine engine from a Chinook helicopter, producing 5,000 horsepower. The car has been steadily developed and improved by Team Vesco over the years. The original Turbinator produced “only” 3,750 hp, which was enough to get it to 458.440 mph in 2001 in the hands of Don Vesco, who has since passed away. Breaking the 500-mph barrier was always a goal for Vesco, which had “Goal 500 MPH” license-plate frames made up 20 years ago.

In its current form, Turbinator II measures 36 feet long, with a 21-foot wheelbase that helps give it more stability at high speeds. To achieve 503 mph, Team Vesco made some modifications to the car, including lighter spun-aluminum wheels.

Team Vesco believes Turbinator II could go even faster, given the right conditions. Before the salt flats flooded, preventing Turbinator II from setting an official record, co-driver and crew chief Eric Ritter told Autoweek that the surface was ideal. A rock-hard surface is best, and that’s exactly what racers got this year. When Digital Trends visited Bonneville in September 2018, regulars said conditions were the best they’d seen in years. Ritter said 600 mph is “plausible” in the future, but floods like the one that scuttled Team Vesco’s official record this year are becoming a more common occurrence.

Cars

BMW’s 2020 M340i will show off mix of tech and luxury at the Los Angeles show

The 2020 3 Series represents the seventh generation of BMW's bread-and-butter luxury sedan. Where previous generations emphasized the driving experience, the 2020 3 Series focuses more on tech than ever before.
Cars

From Rolls-Royce to Lamborghini, these are the most expensive cars in the world

If you recently discovered an oil reserve in your backyard, you probably have some extra cash to spend. Look no further, because we’ve rounded up the most expensive cars in the world.
Smart Home

This old-school bus is now a solar-powered home on wheels

Michael Fuehrer of Nowhere Navigation decided to gut an old yellow school bus and turned it into a tiny home on wheels, complete with a full kitchen and shower inside and a solar panel on top.
Cars

Tesla brings track mode to Model 3 Performance

The new Track Mode introduced for the Tesla 3 Performance model adds stability to the drive while you're behind the wheel and is specifically designed for driving on closed track courses.
Cars

Where are you going this weekend? These 5 off-road vehicles say 'anywhere'

The body-on-frame SUV is going extinct, but there are still several options for buyers looking to skip the asphalt. To help you sort the good from the bad, we've rounded up the best off-roaders currently available.
Cars

Lime’s first carsharing service motors into Seattle this week

Lime may be better known for its app-based bike and scooter rental services, but in Seattle, Washington this week it's launching its very first carsharing service, similar to Car2go and Zipcar.
Cars

Land Rover shows its artsy side by previewing the 2020 Range Rover Evoque

Land Rover made life-sized wire sculptures to preview the 2020 Range Rover Evoque. The all-new SUV will make its debut during a private event held in London on November 22, and deliveries will begin in 2019.
Deals

These headlights have 4 color settings to help save lives under all conditions

Boslla headlights are an easy-to-install solution to achieve all-weather lighting for your vehicle. After a quick ten-minute install, these lights have up to four settings to get you through anything.
Cars

Car parts maker ZF is using drones to deliver components to its factories

ZF recently became the first entity in Germany to receive approval to use drones to deliver spare parts, and the company now uses them to deliver parts from its central warehouses to its workshops.
Cars

The DBX SUV will go where no Aston Martin has gone before

When it launches in 2019, the Aston Martin DBX will be the British automaker's first SUV. In the meantime, camouflaged DBX prototypes will undergo strenuous testing around the world.
Cars

Ford teams up with Walmart to study consumer response to autonomous delivery

Last week it was Ford and VW, and this week Ford and Walmart are signaling a desire to work together on autonomous vehicles solutions. Ford and the giant retailer will study consumer reactions to self-driving delivery vehicles.
Cars

Our favorite fuel-efficient cars are as frugal as they are fun

You don't need to opt for a hybrid or an all-electric ride in order to achieve good fuel economy. These vehicles pack both performance and style, whether you're in the market for a luxury sedan or a game-changing pickup truck.
Cars

Out of juice? Learn how to jump-start a car with this quick guide

Jumping a car is a simple procedure, but not everyone knows how to properly do so. To make things easier, we've put together a quick-hit guide on how to fire up your vehicle using jumper cables and a second power source.
Cars

Born to run (forever): The most reliable cars you can buy right now

We all dread the thought of our car turning into a money pit, but choosing a dependable vehicle from the start can help us rack up countless care-free miles. Here, we've rounded up some of the most reliable cars available.