Russell Blackstock

Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

NZ speed record set in a flying Lamborghini

Eddie Freeman hits 383km/h on his way to taking land speed crown.

Eddie Freeman in the modified Lamborghini. Photo / Supplied
Eddie Freeman in the modified Lamborghini. Photo / Supplied

It could well have been the fastest thing on the Ohakea Air Force Base runway since our Skyhawks were mothballed.

And Kiwi speedster Eddie Freeman certainly had the afterburners on when his Lamborghini smashed the New Zealand land speed record yesterday.

Freeman averaged an incredible 355.485km/h. The previous record stood at 348.23km/h.

The Castrol Trophy for the land speed record had been held by Owen Evans since 1996. Evans nearly paid with his life when he lost control of his Porsche 911 Turbo during one of his attempts, a horrific crash that was caught on camera.

An elated Freeman said he too had been shaken about.

"It was pretty intense.

"There was poor visibility and the car was vibrating but things held up well and I'm delighted."

Freeman was attempting the record in a Lamborghini Superleggera, a supercar producing 530bhp and capable in its standard specification of a top speed of 315km/h.

The $450,000 car was modified at one of the world's leading automotive tuners in the US to prepare it for the attempt.

Now the Superleggera is capable of producing close to 1300 rear-wheel horsepower.

Dad-of-two Freeman, who runs a supercar driving business at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park in the North Waikato, has been gearing up for the attempt for two years.

During yesterday's record-breaking run, he hit a top speed of 383km/h, which was averaged at 355.485km/h after two runs.

Freeman said previous record-holder Evans had met him recently to pass on a few tips and wish him all the best.

Evans, yesterday racing at the Pukekohe raceway, congratulated Freeman for beating his record.

"People don't realise how difficult it is to achieve speeds like that and I'll be more than happy to hand the trophy over to Eddie," Evans said.

"I was just so glad he didn't have an incident during the attempt like the one that happened to me."

And Evans joked: "Eddie did a great job but I hope it doesn't mean I'll now be expected to get back in the Porsche and go for 400km/h.

"I think my wife would have something to say about that, after what I put her through the last time."

- Herald on Sunday

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