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It's just not the same without Caaaaaptain Chaos!
June 5, 2013 8:41 AM   Subscribe

There are just 2,795 miles of interstate and 31,000 highway cops between them and the all-time speed record for crossing the American continent on four wheels. Welcome to the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, later known as the US Express race: The Cannonball Run.

From the article's sidebar:

* Multimedia: The Route, Coast to Coast
* Alex Ross' Final Driveplan: 31:39 Driveplan 1 Final (Merciless Assault Reprisal 00)
* In Pictures: Transcontinental Speed Demons
* Follow Alex Roy's Journey Using Customized Google Earth Maps
* Sims Designer Had the Wright Stuff for Street Racing Way Back When
* Team Polizei 144 Site
* 32 Hours 7 Minutes Web Site
* The Driver by Alex Roy

Previously on Mefi
* 2005: 31 Hours, 7 Minutes
* 2007: 31 Hours, 4 Minutes
posted by zarq (103 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
All done, according to the "The Route, Coast to Coast" link, with ZERO PEE STOPS. Holy shit.
posted by troika at 8:47 AM on June 5, 2013


For nearly two years, Roy — a pale, shaved-headed, independently wealthy ectomorphic veteran of the Gumball 3000 road rally — has obsessed sleeplessly over every detail and thrown money at every possible electronic connivance.

Yeah, the toys are super awesome, but if you bracket that for a second, it's just another 1%er who has no problem putting the rest of us in danger while living as if the world is his private playground.
posted by gravitypanda at 8:52 AM on June 5, 2013 [47 favorites]


For some reason I called him Alex Ross in the bullet for the Final Driveplan link, but that's also by Alex Roy.
posted by zarq at 8:55 AM on June 5, 2013


Why an M5 and not a fast diesel?
posted by nathancaswell at 8:55 AM on June 5, 2013


Wooo! Rebels! Hope you don't ram an SUV and wipe out a family when speeding or anything. Fucking twats.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 8:56 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT: THE GAME
posted by Drexen at 8:56 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


People are probably gonna hate on Roy for being a danger, but he's safer on the road at any speed than your average texter and driver doing 5 under the speed limit.
posted by hellojed at 8:57 AM on June 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


PS, the police should totally FOLLOW THEM ON GOOGLE MAPS!!!! and pull them a few times, ruining their times.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:58 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


he's safer on the road at any speed than your average texter and driver doing 5 under the speed limit.

Is he safer than an attentive driver following traffic laws?

(I am jealous of his toys, of course.)
posted by Hicksu at 9:01 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


All done, according to the "The Route, Coast to Coast" link, with ZERO PEE STOPS. Holy shit.

Have you heard of the Race Across America? It's cycling race where participants bike across the country in 8 days with next to no sleep. The racers are so sleep and nourishment deprived that they often hallucinate. Oi.
posted by dry white toast at 9:03 AM on June 5, 2013


This type of activity makes no sense when we're over peak oil production.
posted by alex_skazat at 9:03 AM on June 5, 2013


Although I'm sure he's mentioned in the Wired links, you can't really discuss this topic without a full on tip-of-the-hat to Brock Yates, the automotive writer who was the co-creator/originator of the race. This is a long, wall-of-text bio/interview he sat down for a few years ago that still makes for a good read. He casts a long shadow over these cross country races.
posted by mosk at 9:03 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Have you heard of the Race Across America? It's cycling race where participants bike across the country in 8 days with next to no sleep. The racers are so sleep and nourishment deprived that they often hallucinate. Oi.

Also, heard of the Tour Divide? It's like the Race Across America, but it's on mountain bikes, goes N to S, and there's no support crew following you. And there's bears. And hey, the Grand Départ is next week! and yeah, I may have done it before...
posted by alex_skazat at 9:06 AM on June 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


These rosary bleeds?
posted by ColdChef at 9:06 AM on June 5, 2013 [17 favorites]


This would make a fantastic Grand-theft-auto style video game. As long as the variables for fuel consumption (down to how inflated your tires are and the like) were fully taken into account.

I mean, this is something I'd love to do, but just like playing violent video games, not something i'd like to do in real life.
posted by furnace.heart at 9:06 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Chocolate monk?
posted by delfin at 9:07 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't see any reason to hate on them, but I pretty much side always with the citizen rather than the cop.

A few years ago I was going down I-44 at 115 mph when I came across a group of five or six cars all doing around 100, which was the most surreal thing. Here I had flew past everycar on the interstate until I was completely alone, then to all of a sudden run into a group speeding as well. I didn't realize it then, just thought that it was a group of boys street racing, but I stuck with em for 60-70 miles until my exit, though at that speed it was only what 35 mins. It was a blast.

I can stand on a street corner, waiting to cross, and pretty much every car has someone texting and driving going by. That to me is way more dangerous. I know what a lot of you are going to say...bullshit. But I am with Hellojed, I'd rather these boys be on the road than your average everyday run of the mill soccer-mom.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 9:07 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


As much as I love Dom Deluise, I can't help but think we should try and arrest people going that fast.
posted by Theta States at 9:09 AM on June 5, 2013


I mean, this is something I'd love to do, but just like playing violent video games, not something i'd like to do in real life.

This is an idea that is awesome and works MUCH BETTER in video games than in real life. Like Mortal Kombat, or Super Bomberman.
posted by Theta States at 9:11 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I pretty much side always with the citizen rather than the cop.

Hi, I am a citizen and would rather people not drive at dangerous and excessive speeds on roads my loved ones and I use.
posted by grouse at 9:18 AM on June 5, 2013 [23 favorites]


I don't see any reason to hate on them, but I pretty much side always with the citizen rather than the cop.

I think you've misunderstood the thinking of those criticizing the racers. The point wasn't that this is a bad thing because cops don't like it, but rather that driving at those speeds endangers other citizens. Even very good drivers don't have as much time to brake or swerve when they are going that fast. They are more dangerous to other citizens.
posted by Area Man at 9:19 AM on June 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


All done, according to the "The Route, Coast to Coast" link, with ZERO PEE STOPS. Holy shit.

There's an appthing for that.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:19 AM on June 5, 2013


i can't help but think about the damage he's doing to his car!
30+ hours at 80+ mph? That can't be good for the engine, especially when going through desert country...

and the gas?! He should totally keep it at 55 for maximum fuel efficiency (or whatever speed provides maximum efficiency).

Acutally that would be a more era-appropriate race - who can get across the country using the least amount of gas/battery power, although it would probably make a more boring movie.

Fast and Furious 7 - The Quest for Fuel Efficiency
posted by bitteroldman at 9:24 AM on June 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Acutally that would be a more era-appropriate race - who can get across the country using the least amount of gas/battery power, although it would probably make a more boring movie.

Top Gear has done a number of these. They are surprisingly entertaining.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:26 AM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Certainly the most distinguished group of highway scofflaws and degenerates ever gathered together in one place
posted by entropicamericana at 9:31 AM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


People are probably gonna hate on Roy for being a danger, but he's safer on the road at any speed than your average texter and driver doing 5 under the speed limit.

With every fiber of my being, NO.

I don't care how able and attentive driver he is--people make mistakes while driving, and speed not only reduces the time available to react, but it also greatly increases the kinetic energy in play. His margin for error is zero, especially since he's traveling on roads which weren't designed for that speed with traffic and people who aren't expecting him to behave in that manner.

By all rights, these people should be arrested for reckless endangerment.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 9:32 AM on June 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


nathancaswell: "Why an M5 and not a fast diesel?"

I'm glad I'm not the only person who was wondering. Diesel is typically more fuel-efficient.
posted by zarq at 9:32 AM on June 5, 2013


Angel, I assume you went to a raving school before you did that? And also took your vehicle to several track days so you had experience handling it at its extremes?

Surely no one would put their lives and the lives of others at risk for a cheap thrill without even basic training, justifying it with a hand wave at an ugly stereotype?
posted by kavasa at 9:33 AM on June 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


160 mph is around 78 yards (71 meters) per second. 3/4 of a football field, every second. Add in 30 hours of sleep deprivation and, as much as I like fast cars on appropriate tracks, I'm going to have to go with the "not on my Interstate, please" crowd.
posted by Floydd at 9:34 AM on June 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


A few years ago I was going down I-44 at 115 mph when I came across a group of five or six cars all doing around 100, which was the most surreal thing. Here I had flew past everycar on the interstate until I was completely alone, then to all of a sudden run into a group speeding as well. I didn't realize it then, just thought that it was a group of boys street racing, but I stuck with em for 60-70 miles until my exit, though at that speed it was only what 35 mins. It was a blast.

Like I love I-44 enough already, thanks for making every trip I take on it more of a pain in the rear out fear for other drivers. It doesn't matter how safe a fast driver is, their ability to react and interact with slower drivers (particularly the bad ones) makes them a threat to the safety of others.
posted by Atreides at 9:34 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here's the efficiency version, for those who were asking.

m.autoblog.com/2011/01/03/hypermiling-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-crosses-america-in-under-two-t/
posted by selfnoise at 9:34 AM on June 5, 2013


I liked the part where Dean Martin was drunk and couldn't say his lines.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:36 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Add in 30 hours of sleep deprivation

He has a co-driver, with scheduled switches in the driveplan link.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:36 AM on June 5, 2013


The original idea was to make a full lap of Manhattan (skipping the most northerly and heavily policed sections of the city) in 25 minutes. This meant running dozens of red lights at absurd speeds and left little time to react to sudden contingencies like pedestrians. [...]

In the end, Roy never attempted the 25-minute Manhattan Rendez-vous. But he claims to have raced a 27-minute "practice run." He proudly estimates that he hit top speeds of 144 mph while committing 151 moving violations...


This person is a sociopath.
posted by lalex at 9:37 AM on June 5, 2013 [15 favorites]


Roy flips a series of toggles on the center console, killing the brake lights...

Now Roy punches up the digital codes corresponding to the New Jersey State Police...

He hits another switch under the dash and a light goes green on his steering wheel display...

Then Roy reaches overhead and flips on the CB...

Roy feels into the side pocket and hands Fyshe a series of color-coded sheets....


At least he's not texting?
posted by R. Mutt at 9:37 AM on June 5, 2013 [23 favorites]


People are probably gonna hate on Roy for being a danger, but he's safer on the road at any speed than your average texter and driver doing 5 under the speed limit.
Well, thank goodness we don't have to choose one or the other. Indeed, both are dangerous, and illegal in most places, as they should be.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:38 AM on June 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Gah! Driving school. Raving school is entirely different.

rassafrassin' phone autocorrect
posted by kavasa at 9:42 AM on June 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


"Average soccer mom" represents a huge class of people for whom you should have a little more respect, QueerAngel28.
posted by pajamazon at 9:43 AM on June 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


One of the big problems I see is calling people who drive over 100 mph "good drivers".
posted by bongo_x at 9:43 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


My boss used to own a Porsche 928. About 25 years ago he drove me to one of our remote offices for a meeting and on a fairly empty stretch of I-55 he cranked it up to about 150 MPH. Which in a Porsche feels even faster because your butt is about 4 cm from the pavement. And after having a laugh at my expense he cranked it back down to around 90 and we got there alive.

Anyway shortly after that he got married, had a child, sold the Porsche, and bought a minivan. And more recently the child left for college, he got divorced, and just a few weeks ago he bought a Panamera.

Oh, and while he's quite fit for his age he is in his late seventies now.
posted by localroger at 9:43 AM on June 5, 2013


But I am with Hellojed, I'd rather these boys be on the road than your average everyday run of the mill soccer-mom.

Reckless endangerment and casual sexism. Hooray?
posted by kmz at 9:43 AM on June 5, 2013 [13 favorites]


I have to say... as someone who often feels stymied by the constraints of speed limits on roadways and generally travels 10-15 over the limit in light traffic, a part of me finds this extremely cool.

That said, the part of me that once stupidly pushed his car to over 140 MPH on a nearly empty highway knows that regardless of one's delusional or very real driving skills, all it takes for a possible tragic ending is one erratic driver who doesn't realize that the headlights currently a 1/2 mile behind them are going to be occupying their general space in a few seconds.

As such, the part of me who deeply loves the people in my life who just learned to drive or aren't very adept drivers, wants this guy arrested.
posted by Debaser626 at 9:47 AM on June 5, 2013


I always liked the Japanese guys. Err...

/carpet bombed by racism fairy.
posted by Artw at 9:50 AM on June 5, 2013


Reckless driving is the least interesting aspect to this story. (Well, no, the peak oil angle was.) Can we just call "message received" on that? I don't think it's safe either, but that's not what the story is about.
posted by spaltavian at 9:51 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


lalex: " In the end, Roy never attempted the 25-minute Manhattan Rendez-vous. But he claims to have raced a 27-minute "practice run." He proudly estimates that he hit top speeds of 144 mph while committing 151 moving violations..."

I'm assuming this is complete bullshit, unless he did a loop outside the city and took the FDR, East River Highway, Clearview and West Side Highway at three or four in the morning. He wouldn't be able to maintain 100+mph speeds on any of those roads. For one thing, he'd wreck the undercarriage of his car thanks to potholes. For another, three of those highways have stop lights, and people do cross them at all hours -- especially the West Side Highway, since there are often events, restaurants and other stuff going on at the Piers.

Doing that run during daylight hours would be completely impossible due to traffic. And doing it on the streets of Manhattan at pretty much any hour would be insane. Pedestrians would die. Possibly in large numbers. Also, depending on what streets he chose, he'd (again) destroy his car from potholes and broken pavement.
posted by zarq at 9:54 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh whoops. Totally forgot to check in with spaltavian to make sure I was engaging with the post properly. My bad.
posted by kavasa at 9:57 AM on June 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Are we supposed to be discussing "zero pee stops" instead of dangerous recklessness? I'm confused.
posted by kiltedtaco at 9:59 AM on June 5, 2013


I always preferred Gumball Rally over Cannonball Run.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:00 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


i can't help but think about the damage he's doing to his car!
30+ hours at 80+ mph? That can't be good for the engine, especially when going through desert country...


Depending on the gearing of the transmission, and the rpms required, that's quite probably less wear on the engine than an equivalent road trip across the country with lots of stops, traffic, etc. Objects in motion and all that...
posted by stenseng at 10:00 AM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


GravityPanda had it right at the beginning:

Yeah, the toys are super awesome, but if you bracket that for a second, it's just another 1%er who has no problem putting the rest of us in danger while living as if the world is his private playground.
posted by R. Mutt at 10:01 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fast and Furious 7 - The Quest for Fuel Efficiency

Fast and Furious 8 - Post-Peak Diesel
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:06 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


He has a co-driver, with scheduled switches in the driveplan link.

Who when not driving, according to the article, has to keep an eye out for police and other hazards and has to monitor all the electronics. I see no mention of sleep.
posted by Floydd at 10:09 AM on June 5, 2013


it's just another 1%er who has no problem putting the rest of us in danger while living as if the world is his private playground

That's NOTHING - I heard about this one guy who devoted all his time to making the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. Pure selfishness if you ask me.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:10 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


it's just another 1%er who has no problem putting the rest of us in danger

I wanted to love this like I love the end of The Wild Bunch, a story of a Last American Outlaw, but I came to the same conclusion. He's not doing it because he has to, he's doing it because of ennui. Other than Mr. Sherlock Holmes, people who suffer from ennui can suck it. If you've got so much money you don't have to work and that's making you bored, give the shit away, help poor people, etc.

Also I'm bitter because once I was old enough to afford a dangerously fast car I found that 16 year-old in me had sublet the space to some wiener who worries about cops over the horizon.
posted by yerfatma at 10:12 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I heard about this one guy who devoted all his time to making the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. Pure selfishness if you ask me.

At least he needed the money.
posted by yerfatma at 10:12 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow are you all a bunch of killjoys.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:14 AM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


A BMW M5 weighs about 4400 lbs, and at 160 mph has the same kinetic energy as a 37,000 lb vehicle at 55 mph.
posted by rocket88 at 10:16 AM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


People are probably gonna hate on Roy for being a danger, but he's safer on the road at any speed than your average texter and driver doing 5 under the speed limit.

The fact that he is an incredibly safe driver does not make the fact that he's driving way over the speed limit a safe act for anyone. We have average drivers out on those roads. Introducing someone doing well over 100 mph into that mix isn't making the roads any safer.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:17 AM on June 5, 2013


Wow are you all a bunch of killjoys.

Says the guy who never lost anyone he cared about to a speeder.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 10:18 AM on June 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


I don't see any reason to hate on them, but I pretty much side always with the citizen rather than the cop.

You know, I'm pretty biased myself toward being skeptical of authoritarian figures. But sometimes, just sometimes, we have police officers because we have actual public-safety concerns, and they're not just jackbooted buzzkills trying to keep us down for The Man.

I'm a citizen too, and I'm really not terribly fond of people treating public throughways as their personal racetracks and treating me and my other fellow citizens as obstacle-course barriers to be dodged past at very dangerously high speeds. If that makes me "side with a cop rather than a citizen," well, I guess I can live with that betrayal.
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:18 AM on June 5, 2013


30+ hours at 80+ mph? That can't be good for the engine, especially when going through desert country...

There's no reason to suggest that this use case is any more damaging than any other rpm/speed combination (within the normal range of engine speeds, ie no constant redlining).

Why an M5 and not a fast diesel?

Because... M5. Drive or passenger in one and you'll understand. Why would you choose a diesel if you had an M5? Screw the fuel stop penalty! It's a hell of a car, although the diesel fuel aspect is valid.

If you could get an M5 suspension set up with a similarly powered diesel, then ok it starts to make sense. It'd be less pleasant but maybe allow one or two less fuel stops. But if you are doing this kind of thing (which, yes, is dumb but not quite as INSTANTLY DEATH CAUSING as people react to) then you need a car that stops and handles extremely well (the M5 is pretty much the benchmark in its class in that regard) and one that accelerates very quickly so that you can afford to react safely to other cars and slow when needed but get back up to speed as soon as possible.

if you had something that didn't accelerate like shit off a shovel (as the Bishop said) and your aim was to do something like this, the temptation to maintain momentum at all costs adds a lot more danger than Vmax on empty roads does. I've driven all kinds of fast cars on the road and on the track - during my youth I've also driven insanely fast on public roads when I thought I was invincible. But I took WAY more risks in my 55Hp 1.1cc VWGolf Mk 1 (Gti suspension and brakes) than I ever did in all the other cars. Yes, I was 18 at the time and appropriately stupid, but if I lost any speed at all, I was screwed for getting back up there so I'd do all kinds of calculations of closing speed, relative vehicle movements and the like to try and time it just right to negotiate traffic with the minimum of lost speed.

Again, I'm not condoning that behaviour - I'd go back and tell myself how stupid I was, but I'm sure I'd not have listened to myself. As it were. But in the same circumstances for the same idiot headspace at the time, I was more of a risk looking back now in the lower powered car. I'm astonished I never even had an accident.
posted by Brockles at 10:19 AM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm really, truly surprised to see some many people freaking out about people driving 80 MPH, even 90 possibly!, and oh think of the children.

While in Europe some years ago the city busses in Bavaria would hit 90 mph in the slow highway lane. I've always yearned for autobahn style highways and speeds here, but apparently it's not that people aren't ready for them, its that low speed limits have made them viscerally scared of anything over 75. And while speed does translate into worse crashes, think of how poor our highway infrastructure is and how little driver training is required in most states. That's the scary part.
posted by efalk at 10:19 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm really, truly surprised to see some many people freaking out about people driving 80 MPH, even 90 possibly!, and oh think of the children.

And even 90?

RTFA.

90 was the average. 160 was the top.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 10:22 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


think of how poor our highway infrastructure is and how little driver training is required in most states.

If you know the highways are not autobahn style and that the other drivers are not well-trained, spending 32 sleepless hours driving at an average speed of 90MPH is dangerous. I get that you like the Autobahn, but don't see why that makes the behavior described in this article anything other than a rich asshole putting everyone else at risk for no good reason.
posted by Area Man at 10:25 AM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


"90 was the average. 160 was the top."

It's not the average speed that kills, it's the damn standard deviation (of traffic).
posted by klarck at 10:26 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Says the guy who never lost anyone he cared about to a speeder.

Historically, my family's robust good health has meant the single largest cause of one of us winding up in the hospital or the morgue has been someone else doing something stupid behind the wheel of a car.

The arrogance of being this reckless with unseen strangers and their loved ones is breathtaking.
posted by ambrosia at 10:26 AM on June 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Brockles: ... my 55Hp 1.1cc VWGolf Mk 1

1.1cc? What, was it some sort of RC toy?
(I assume you meant 1.1 liter / 1100cc...)
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:33 AM on June 5, 2013


The "record"* for the Iron Butt Association 50CC, which is Coast to Coast in under 50 hours _on a motorcycle_ is in the low 40s.
It's usually done San Diego to Jacksonville with NYC to LA being "The hard way".

There are rumors that it has been done in under 40 hours. By a single rider. Generally without scanners,"jammers", charts and other nonsense.

In that light, adding only 500 miles over the SAN/JAX route in another 9 hours with air conditioning and a co-driver isn't all that impressive to me.

Besides, everyone knows the "real" coast-to-coast is Prudhoe Bay to Key West.

*The IBA doesn't recognize speed records for obvious reasons.
posted by madajb at 10:38 AM on June 5, 2013


But if you are doing this kind of thing (which, yes, is dumb but not quite as INSTANTLY DEATH CAUSING as people react to) then you need a car that stops and handles extremely well (the M5 is pretty much the benchmark in its class in that regard) and one that accelerates very quickly so that you can afford to react safely to other cars and slow when needed but get back up to speed as soon as possible.

I've driven across country a bunch of times, and used to routinely put up 750-1000 mile days on road trips.

While getting back up to cruising speed quickly is good, a fuel stop will absolutely kill your average speed. Moreso than any amount of 5 gear roll-on can get back.

Pull into a even a not so busy interstate gas station and you're going to be there for 10-15 minutes. If you can skip that just twice on the trip, that's a lot of time to make up in your M5.

One point I will mention, when driving a diesel, a lot of Out West gas stations only have diesel in the truck section, and if you hit it at the wrong time, well, let's just say you could get lunch in the time it take a pump to become free.
But, if you are in a hurry, and they have auto diesel, learn to perfect the "T" for quick in and out times.
posted by madajb at 10:46 AM on June 5, 2013


Relevant
posted by Hactar at 10:49 AM on June 5, 2013


He has a co-driver, with scheduled switches in the driveplan link.

And then the person who was driving had to spot cops. It's very clear there was no sleeping for any of them.
posted by eriko at 10:50 AM on June 5, 2013


Linked on Alex Roy's Wikipedia page: Fastest Driven Lap of Manhattan. Don't know if it's real or not, but it sure did make me dizzy.
posted by lalex at 10:55 AM on June 5, 2013


Partial double
posted by rmd1023 at 10:57 AM on June 5, 2013


A BMW M5 weighs about 4400 lbs, and at 160 mph has the same kinetic energy as a 37,000 lb vehicle at 55 mph.

Well, the current one does. The one he was driving wasn't the current one, it was probably the E60*, which "only" weighs 4100 lbs. When you factor in people and gear, however, it was probably closer to 4500-4600 on the road.

So, yeah, it basically had the KE of an (unloaded) semi. Not good.



* A footnote corrects a statement asserting that the car was turbocharged. Only the current M5 (the F10) has a turbo, on a 4.4L V8. The E60 has an naturally aspirated 5L V10. It could have also be the E39, which weighs about the same as the E60, which had a naturally aspirated 5L V8. But I suspect this guy wouldn't have been happy with the 394bhp of the E39, so I'm guessing the 500bhp E60.
posted by eriko at 11:01 AM on June 5, 2013


Fast and Furious 7 - The Quest for Fuel Efficiency
Fast and Furious 8 - Post-Peak Diesel


Fast and Furious 9 - Just The Mad Max Films, Re-Edited
posted by Theta States at 11:03 AM on June 5, 2013


A (Mostly Speculative) Preview of the Future Fast & Furious Sequels
posted by kmz at 11:06 AM on June 5, 2013


Apparently the record-breaking Polizei 144 was an E39 modded by Ai design, so it's likely pretty far from stock.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 11:08 AM on June 5, 2013


First off, I'm as disgusted by the casual public endangerment as everyone else, and hope the police find a way to shut this down. I'm so not condoning this contest.

But just for the sake of argument, let me ask: where are the magazine articles and news stories about the wake of destruction left behind by the race? No huge multi-car, traffic blocking pileups on the freeways? No jato-rocket-car style smoking wreckage from when one of the racers blows an engine or rolls their car during a high speed ramp exit? By rights, this kind of event should be leaving behind a chain of serious accidents dense enough to reconstruct the entire route from police reports and insurance claims alone. Sources say there were no accidents or serious injuries in the original five runs before the organizer shut it down from safety concerns, and I can't find mentions of accidents since the races were resumed either. Has every Cannonball race just been really, really lucky or do all of their exhaustive efforts to evade the law produce some kind of secondary safety effect?
posted by ceribus peribus at 11:09 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


But just for the sake of argument, let me ask: where are the magazine articles and news stories about the wake of destruction left behind by the race?

I don't know about the Cannonball, but there has been at least one fatal accident during the Gumball.
posted by madajb at 11:19 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Alex Roy's team actually raised money for the victims of that crash, after pulling out of the rally when they heard the news, and then quitting the Gumball entirely.
posted by hellojed at 11:21 AM on June 5, 2013


On one hand. this is pretty cool. But on the other, much bigger hand, fuck these people, because these entitled assholes are endangering innocent peoples' lives so they can play some some childish rich-kid "X-treme" sport.

To be fair, I'm the guy who couldn't make it through the first The Fast and Furious movie because I kept thinking, "one of those idiots is going to kill a pedestrian!" But for the people who think this is the bee's knees (and granted, I imagine it is quite fun): are you okay with people texting while they drive? What about drunk driving? Because it's the same damn thing. I believe it's every man's god-given right to endanger their own lives in the pursuit of stupid fun, but you can't just go out and endanger the lives of everyone on the interstate.
posted by Green Winnebago at 11:32 AM on June 5, 2013


lalex: "Linked on Alex Roy's Wikipedia page: Fastest Driven Lap of Manhattan. Don't know if it's real or not, but it sure did make me dizzy."

*jaw drops* Holy shit. That was insane.

There are places on those roads where he was flying around curves and didn't have perfect line of sight for enough distance to be able to come to a complete stop if he needed to. One stopped car, one accident and he'd have plowed into them, killed himself and others.
posted by zarq at 11:43 AM on June 5, 2013


A BMW M5 weighs about 4400 lbs, and at 160 mph has the same kinetic energy as a 37,000 lb vehicle at 55 mph.

And a fully loaded tractor trailer weighs 40 tons, 80,000 lbs. Luckily those guys NEVER get into accidents...
posted by hwyengr at 12:05 PM on June 5, 2013


1.1cc? What, was it some sort of RC toy?
(I assume you meant 1.1 liter / 1100cc...)


Well, that was what it felt like (yes, 1100cc).

do all of their exhaustive efforts to evade the law produce some kind of secondary safety effect?

I think so. I do believe it has an effect. People looking for police and determined not to get caught certainly look like they're paying more attention to what is around them, and I was certainly far more in tune with what was going on around me when speeding than when I am following traffic as I do now. Despite my awareness of it and fighting to stay more alert all the time. It's HARD to stay as focussed as you can and should be while driving on highways. Speed and an element of (perceived or otherwise) danger sharpens the mind, that's for sure.

There are places on those roads where he was flying around curves and didn't have perfect line of sight for enough distance to be able to come to a complete stop if he needed to.

I bet they had spotters out. People monitoring traffic conditions on the route etc. Also, they only averaged 63mph, with a max of 110mph on the GPS. It's not quite as mental as it looks (although it's pretty damn fast, just not banzai race car fast). Those are pretty quiet traffic conditions for 110mph. (you can see the GPS stats screen at the end).

Mind you, I don't think that was all that fast because I'm used to European speeds - I've driven a 700 mile trip across Switzerland, France and England (including a ferry crossing) in just under 10 hours and only had traffic for about an hour total in four different places. I also have driven 190 odd miles across England one Sunday morning and (completely accidentally through a faulty speedometer) averaged 85mph on the trip. I was pretty surprised when we got there so fast, I can tell you. I thought I was doing 85mph or so (and bitching about how loud the car was inside at speed) but there was almost zero other traffic to judge it against. Piece of shit Ferrari speedometer was waving all over the place and my friend and I were saying "I thought it was further away than this?" when we rolled up to the gates.
posted by Brockles at 12:09 PM on June 5, 2013


Fast and Furious 7 - The Quest for Fuel Efficiency
Fast and Furious 8 - Post-Peak Diesel
Fast and Furious 9 - Just The Mad Max Films, Re-Edited


Fast and Furious 10 - Soylent Green Bio-Diesel
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:17 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


And a fully loaded tractor trailer weighs 40 tons, 80,000 lbs. Luckily those guys NEVER get into accidents...

This argument is a non-starter. KE obviously isn't the whole story; it just tells you they have enough energy to do serious damage. Doesn't say anything about the chances of actually causing that damage, which is going to be set by the required reaction times, design speed of the highway, capabilities of the car/tires/suspension, etc.
posted by kiltedtaco at 12:24 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Speed and an element of (perceived or otherwise) danger sharpens the mind, that's for sure.

No kidding. I love the feeling of total present awareness I get when I'm riding my motorcycle. Going fast, paying attention, zeroed in on the road and the vehicles around me, thinking about nothing else, because if I fuck up I'm probably going to die: it's a great feeling.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:28 PM on June 5, 2013


Alex tells me he hopes other people don't try to replicate his feat, not because he doesn't want his record broken, but because he doesn't want anyone to get hurt. The speed demon claims he doesn't speed anymore and won't try to repeat his high-speed journey, although he may race on a track from time to time.
posted by Area Man at 12:29 PM on June 5, 2013


Yep, Alex Roy's team raised money for the people killed by Nick Morley, who were too poor to be able to afford a car with airbags, as are the majority of the drivers in Macedonia. Alex Roy himself donated almost 20% of the entry fee for the rally to the family of the deceased.

And 2 deaths in 6 million miles (120×entrants, 16×Gumball Rallies, 3000×miles per rally) is over 100 times the US death rate per mile travelled, so I call that a trail of death and destruction.
posted by ambrosen at 12:30 PM on June 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Brockles: " Also, they only averaged 63mph, with a max of 110mph on the GPS. It's not quite as mental as it looks (although it's pretty damn fast, just not banzai race car fast). Those are pretty quiet traffic conditions for 110mph. (you can see the GPS stats screen at the end)."

Ah... okay. That makes sense. It's impossible to judge speed accurately/objectively on a video that's cranked up to 5x.

Those highways, specifically the West Side Highway and the FDR, both have long stretches where you can see for a quarter to perhaps half a mile. And then they also have a few areas where visibility around curves is practically nil and doing anything over 50mph could conceivably be dangerous if you don't have quick reflexes.
posted by zarq at 12:56 PM on June 5, 2013


A few years ago I was going down I-44 at 115 mph
As much as I hope this is Internet boasting, please try to make I-44 a LITTLE safer by slowing down a bit. I've traveled the same 300+ miles on this interstate for 10+ years and I hate it more every time I have to drive it.
posted by stltony at 1:04 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Speed and an element of (perceived or otherwise) danger sharpens the mind, that's for sure.
There was a great study I was reading recently that put a variety of LE officers through various scenarios where deadly force was a possibility. The weapons they used for the exercises had special sensors in the triggers. This is because LE training repeatedly reinforces that you are never to put your finger on the trigger unless you are going to shoot and your sights are aligned on the target.

Something like 30% of the officers put their fingers on the trigger, and some of them exerted enough pressure on it to cause it to fire, even though to a one they were certain they'd never touched the trigger.

My boyfriend also has a great anecdote from work, where a coworker was telling a story about a time when she was drunk and then realized she "had" to drive people somewhere and "instantly sobered up".

The point being: our subjective opinions of our own state of mind, our sense for our physical body, and our capabilities is not necessarily reliable.

FWIW, I do recognize that sense of heightened awareness from being in the gun turret of a humvee overseas. But just because I felt hyper-aware doesn't mean that I was.
posted by kavasa at 1:54 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


The point being: our subjective opinions of our own state of mind, our sense for our physical body, and our capabilities is not necessarily reliable.

You're comparing paying more attention in order to spot police and danger while speeding with someone becoming convinced they were more sober when drunk? Interesting....
posted by Brockles at 2:50 PM on June 5, 2013


he's safer on the road at any speed than your average texter and driver doing 5 under the speed limit

I'd rather these boys be on the road than your average everyday run of the mill soccer-mom


think of how poor our highway infrastructure is and how little driver training is required in most states. That's the scary part

These dangerous texters, untrained drivers doing 5 under the speed limit, and (gasp!) soccer-moms are all on the same poor highway infrastructure at the same exact time as the super-entitled speed-demons. Not to mention drunk drivers, people with large dogs in their laps, people who are lost and trying to read their maps or reset their Garmins, and sleep deprived truck drivers with large blind spots. And people who can't talk without waving their hands around, and people who are fixing their hair and looking at themselves in the mirrors, and people who are eating, and people who are actually changing their damn pants while driving on the freeway (seriously, whoever you were, DON'T DO THAT AGAIN!). Or all the 1001 other dumb things that nearly kill me and the other average drivers every day driving to and from our jobs, or taking our children to school, or visiting our parents in the hospital, or just trying to get from point A to point Z. We're all on the roads too. Those same unpredictable everyday bad drivers are the very ones the thrill-seekers are hurtling toward at 100+ miles an hour, tailgating, swerving around, and trusting to do the right thing, at speeds with no margin for error. Anyone's error.

It doesn't really matter how fucking skilled you are at Deathrace 2000, when the game you're actually playing is Frogger.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:08 PM on June 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


Pedestrians would die. Possibly in large numbers.

Aren't they worth extra points? Anyway, my money is still on Frankenstein.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 3:35 PM on June 5, 2013


When I was a rock band roadie in the sixties my partner and I drove coast to coast from the Fillmore East in New York City to Marin County in 63 hours, in a truck that didn't do more than about 55.
posted by Repack Rider at 6:20 PM on June 5, 2013


Repack Rider, I assume that since the non-driving partner didn't have to stay alert for cops and similar hazards that one of you was probably able to sleep while the other drove, which seems like a responsible way to do it.
posted by localroger at 6:54 PM on June 5, 2013


You're comparing paying more attention in order to spot police and danger while speeding with someone becoming convinced they were more sober when drunk? Interesting....
Why do people think that ignoring 50% of a comment is convincing?

I also compared it to highly trained LE officers putting their fingers on the trigger even though they were certain they hadn't.
I also compared it to my own feelings of heightened awareness in Afghanistan.

I suppose I could mention the research where everyone thinks that most people are bad drivers, yet at the same time most people think that they themselves are good drivers.

Just because you feel sharper doesn't mean you are.
posted by kavasa at 7:12 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, are we telling speed stories in between the sniping? St Louis to Denver (841 miles) in a hair under 12 hours. Including a 20 mile detour down US 24 and 100mph+ on a gravel road back to the interstate. In a 1970 Impala...the a/c actually had an inch of ice on it.

Same car, four years later, "breaking in" a new engine on the way back from Arkansas to Stl. Doing about 80, get passed by a couple cars. Catch up to them: they're doing at least 130. At catch-up speed (took five minutes to catch up), the car just *floats*.
posted by notsnot at 7:15 PM on June 5, 2013


...though I'm not too sure about Ohio.
posted by zardoz at 8:43 PM on June 5, 2013


QueerAngel28: A few years ago I was going down I-44 at 115 mph […] I can stand on a street corner, waiting to cross, and pretty much every car has someone texting and driving going by.

Yeesh. "Soccer moms do this mundane, lame thing that often kills people but I do this totally-not-lame thing that often kills people," is not a moral justification. It's an amoral rationalization.

Speeding kills about 13,000 people each year in the US. (http://www.cnrlawyers.com/news/dangers-of-speeding-while-driving/
)

Sleep deprivation is as dangerous as drinking and driving. There is a s-ton of research on this. Here's one study: http://oem.bmj.com/content/57/10/649.short

Here's another: http://www.bmj.com/content/324/7346/1125.1

From that last link: Acute sleepiness in car drivers significantly increases the risk of a crash in which a car occupant is injured or killed. Reductions in road traffic injuries may be achieved if fewer people drive when they are sleepy or have been deprived of sleep or drive between 2 am and 5 am.
posted by Skwirl at 11:19 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just because you feel sharper doesn't mean you are.

It doesn't mean you aren't either.

And 50% of the comment is enough of it to make it worth questioning, frankly. The drunk person element was the part I objected to as a viable comparison, not the other part. Which was why I objected to only 50% of it.

Why do people think that objecting to part of a comment means that I am peeing on their point?
posted by Brockles at 7:14 AM on June 6, 2013


It's hard not to appreciate the good-ole-boy outwit-the-cops adventure of driving fast in a fast car, until you read the article, with a police chase, speeds of up to 160, protracted speeds above 100, and 2 people not sleeping while driving for over 37 hours. The fascination with wearing jackboots, German police togs, and a regulation leather police belt with handcuffs is creepy.
posted by theora55 at 10:06 AM on June 6, 2013


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