The lawn-mower land-speed record is under siege as a team of British automotive engineers attempts to break the 130-kilometer-per-hour barrier

big picture feb 2010
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Neighbors commonly compete over who has the greenest, most manicured lawn. But for Don Wales, the driver who intends to break the current lawn-mower land-speed record of 130 kilometers per hour (80.8 miles per hour) this month, he who cuts fastest wins. Wales’s machine, dubbed Project Runningblade, will make the high-speed dash on sand but must then prove capable of actually cutting grass. For the past three years, a team of automotive engineers has been fine-tuning the mower’s power train so it can deliver the burst of speed needed to cover the 1-mile course in less than 36 seconds. They’re also honing its aerodynamics so the mower won’t become airborne at top speed.