Danny Thompson’s Challenger II runs 450mph at Bonneville

Danny Thompson takes home the official record his father Mickey Thompson set out for in 1960

Photographers: Simon Davidson

EIGHT years of testing and development for Danny Thompson and his crew in the twin nitro Hemi-powered Challenger II culminated in an incredible 450mph (that’s 724km/h, kids!) run through the traps today at Speed Week in Bonneville, Utah. Backing up yesterday’s 446 and change, the official AA/FS record for the Thompson family will be etched into the SCTA record books at 448.75mph.

Danny described the run as being ‘healthy.’ A gust through the mountain valley sent the car fish tailing and required some heroic steering inputs as you’ll see on the video! However, the lights had already been trapped and throwing out the laundry prevented any serious mishaps.

Being lucky enough to witness Danny get out of his car at the top end is an indescribable feeling. A serene Sunday morning out past the eight-mile marker on the salt soon became an emotional scene of cheering, hugs and tears. The Thompson LSR crew are all volunteers including some that had served with Mickey Thompson all those years ago.

Not only has Danny taken a phenomenal record, but at the time of writing he’s currently in line to break George Poteet and the Speed Demon’s seven-year run of holding both the fastest pass of Speed Week, and the title for the world’s fastest piston driven vehicle.

A story that has stretched out for over half a century for the family can finally be laid to rest. Ask Danny what’s he’s going to do next? “I think I’m gonna go surfing!”