Daredevil driver sets crazy record in Ford Mustang rental car
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The driver of a daring high-speed record “Cannonball Run” across America says video evidence of his pursuit “would probably land me in jail”.
But that hasn’t stopped Fred Ashmore from recording tell-all interviews explaining exactly how he drove a rented Ford Mustang GT from New York to Los Angeles in 25 hours and 55 minutes, at an average speed of 174km/h.
Ashmore stripped 43 minutes from a controversial record set by three men in an Audi A8 sedan by renting a V8-powered Mustang and replacing its interior with enormous tanks capable of holding more than 490 litres of fuel. The enormous fuel tanks allowed him to complete the 4500-odd kilometre journey with just one stop for petrol, conducted using a mobile tanker away from service stations.
Careful management of food (beef jerky) and fluids (water) removed the need for a bathroom break.
While several enthusiasts have launched hi-tech attempts to beat Cannonball records, Ashmore’s run was relatively simple. He ran google maps and a timer on a smartphone, the Waze traffic app on a tablet, a police radar detector and expensive laser jamming system to evade the law.
He rented a V8-powered automatic Ford Mustang GT from Avis for $600 (including time to prepare the vehicle and return it to stock trim), later buying it from a wholesaler.
Former record holder turned automotive YouTuber Ed Bolian says Ashmore’s “insane” record will be difficult to beat.
“We always knew that if someone went out and decided not to care about what could go wrong, just about anything was possible.”
Ashmore gave frank interviews to Bolian’s VinWiki YouTube channel, explaining how he would set the cruise control for 120 miles per hour (200km/h) and regularly reach speeds as high as 159mph (255.8km/h).
“There were times when I would sit right at 159,” Ashmore said.
“Anyone who tells you a stock Mustang goes faster than 159 – they’re lying. My foot would tell you the same thing. It goes 159 miles an hour.”
The Maine mechanic had close calls with police in California – first at a border checkpoint, and then when a highway patrol car illuminated its lights in pursuit of his Mustang.
“I just kept saying to myself, I’m going to jail. I am going to jail.
“I could see lights in my mirror.
“There’s no question I am going to jail.”
But Ashmore evaded police by taking a complex series of motorway exits.
Cannonball Run record attempts spiked during the coronavirus crisis as people tried to take advantage of quiet roads. Bolian previously described the crisis as a “doping era” for illegal high-speed driving, while Magazines such as Car and Driver slated drivers attempting the records as “unconscionable and dumb”.