Watch: Death-defying Kiwi racer opens up about speed record! Zooming with DRIVEN
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When you meet a man with two first names, one of them being 'Racing', you know that he's serious about speed - and Ray Williams certainly is.
The Kiwi racing legend joins us in studio this week, on his 75th birthday, to talk about his land speed record and the incredibly fast Porsche 930 Turbo that he did it in.
This 930 Turbo that Ray talks about is actually up for auction through Webb's later this month.
The total list of competition victories for this car stands at 155 (believed to be a World Record). This includes winning the Bridgestone-Porsche Race Championship outright in 1990, as well as the Sports and GT Championship twice in 1990 and 1995. The car's 100th victory was at Whenuapai on 28 February 1999. Not content with merely racing the car, Ray attained the New Zealand Land Speed Record with it and several other awards to boot. The records themselves are something of a saga. The vehicle has completed 20 New Zealand Land Speed Record runs in total, each run at speeds above 300 km/hr. The first was at Waitakaruru on 31 October 1995 (where the late Rodger Freeth had set the record using a Lola Indy Race Car). With eight runs on a wet and windy road, a road car record of 285 km/hr was achieved.
On 16 March 1996, another wet and windy day, Ray Williams set the FIA-recognised New Zealand Outright Land Speed Record at 316.929 km/hr at Goudies Road, Reporoa. Several other records after 12 exciting speed runs, some of which were undertaken in torrential rain. In Ray’s own words, “We managed 12 consecutive runs, but the wet road caused wheelspin, even at 320 km/hr. The in-car telemetry had us close to our aim of 350 km/hr, but 'slippage' meant that we couldn't reach our desired goal.” Today, the vehicle still holds many FIA-certified New Zealand Records. including ‘Outright Speed over the Measured Mile for a Road Registered Car’ and ‘Standing Start Kilometre and Mile.
Ray had this to say about the vehicle, “This 1983 3.3 litre Porsche 911 Turbo has enjoyed a rather spectacular racing history as well as being a much-loved daily road car. From commuter travel, to touring the North and South Islands, to success in racing on most of NZ’s favourite circuits and in street races, the car is a magnificent example of Porsche engineering at its finest. The car was retired from active duty after the NZIGP race meeting 7 May 2011, and has more recently been returned to road trim with cage removed, leather refurbished, seats restored and heaters fitted to the front seats. The gearbox has also been changed to a later model 5 speed, with smoother synchro’s, and a hydraulically operated clutch, instead of the heavy cable version. Nevertheless there is still an awesome 500+ horsepower for those bursts on our lovely NZ roads.”