Johnny Bohmer can’t drive 55 mph. He’s not even happy driving 305 mph.
The racing and high-speed test driver claimed the record for fastest street legal car on Dec. 9 with a 310.8 mph run on the old Space Shuttle landing strip at the Kennedy Space Center.
His Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds company rents the runway to provide testing services for automakers and parts manufacturers, and the occasional top-speed run.
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Bohmer completed the feat in a 2006 Ford GT that he has been constantly modifying since he first picked it up from the dealer.
“I bought the car brand new, and pretty soon after I bought it I wanted to make it the first car to go 250 mph,” Bohmer told Fox News Digital.
After achieving that goal in 2010, he set his sights on 300 mph, which had never been reached in a street legal car before. However, it was a longer road to get there than he had expected.
“I failed for years at this, this 300 runs,” he said.
“I failed for years at this, this 300 runs.”
The Ford GT came from the factory with a 550 hp supercharged 5.4-liter V8 and a claimed top speed of 205 mph.
Bohmer replaced the supercharger with twin turbochargers and updated pretty much the entire drivetrain, except for the engine block and transmission case.
It now makes over 2,700 horsepower, but he has always kept it street legal with Z-rated tires, license plates and insurance.
“For years, I took my kids to school in it,” he said.
The GT is a popular car for high-speed events thanks to its inherently aerodynamic shape. Bohmer has only made minor modifications to the body, using what he describes as a “hillbilly” testing system he developed.
The big issue is creating enough downforce to keep the front of the car from flipping over like a racing power boat hitting a big wave while not creating too much air resistance.
He also said his GT weighs about 4,000 pounds, which is a lot for a sports car, but helps keep it stable at triple digit speeds.
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“At the end of the day you want a car that has smooth power delivery, a good transmission, a high-revving engine, because that’s key, and then weight,” he explained.
“Light pieces of paper float away when you hit them with a leaf blower.”
Bohmer set a Guinness record for acceleration over a standing mile with it in 2012, hitting 283 mph and got it up to 292 mph in 2017.
Then things took a turn for the worse. The engine blew up, and he decided to take it back to the drawing board, redesigning it with new components.
But while he was working on it as a hobby on the side, another Ford GT posted a 300.4 mph speed at the Texas Mile event in 2019.
Later that year, a $3 million Bugatti Chiron hit 304.77 mph on a test track in Germany. Then the pandemic came along, causing parts supply issues and other challenges.
“It took five years to get it back on the road,” Bohmer said.
When he finally did, he was not even planning to go for a record, just shaking it down on a test run.
“I felt really good, and when things feel right, you just go for it,” he said.
Bohmer kept one eye on the hyper-accurate V-Box speedometer and said that when he saw it hit 303, he said to himself, “It’s on.”
“So I stayed in it and said I want to go 310,” he recalled.
Even though he was driving faster than he was accustomed to, he said he tapped into his years of experience to keep calm.
“I just get in the car and do it. I don’t think about it.”
“I just get in the car and do it. I don’t think about it. I’ve been driving a long time,” he said.
“I’ve always found that if you think about things, you’re making a mistake, because you can’t react quick enough when you’re thinking. Everything’s got to be somewhat automatic.”
The runway is not quite three miles long, and when he saw 310.8 mph on the display, he pulled the parachute that he had installed for extra stopping power. It was still barely enough, and he needed to lock the brakes as the runoff area approached.
“I did push it a little far toward the end of the runway,” Bohmer said. “I skidded 1,123 feet, I think, along with the parachute to stop the car.”
He is not stopping yet, however. The car was running well below its maximum turbo boost level, and Bohmer has calculated that it can go even faster in half the distance that he covered this time, with an estimated top speed as high as 322 mph.
“If I can get out and clip a 317 to 322, that’s going to stand, probably, I would imagine, for the rest of my life in a true street car,” Bohmer said.
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“It’s going to be very difficult for somebody to beat that.”