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Richard Losee Enzo Ferrari

Richard Losee Sets World Land Speed Record in Rare Enzo Ferrari

December 30, 2010
By: Matt Hales

BONNEVILLE SALT FLATS – Richard Losee of Sundance, Utah set a new land speed class record of 237.871 mph at the SCTA World Finals held in October 2010. For Mr. Losee, it was a long road traveled. In August of 2006, Richard Losee was participating with his Enzo Ferrari in the "Utah Fast Pass", a charity event benefiting among others, the Utah Highway Patrol’s Honoring Heroes Foundation. It was at this event when Losee was involved in a horrific accident.

Upon purchasing the Enzo in April of 2003 Losee, the 1997 SCCA Group 2 National Pro Rally Champion, allowed his car to be used as the road test vehicle for Road and Track magazine, where it set multiple all-time performance records. He had given the car the title "MM Enzo" for the goal of putting the most miles on a Ferrari. At the time of the accident it had a documented 32,183 miles. Losee and his co-pilot Sean Harris had also successfully competed in several official Ferrari North America Challenge Rallies, winning two outright.

Enzo Ferrari Crash The Utah Fast Pass allows cars of limited production to participate in a three-day drive on Utah's most scenic roads. During the final day of this event, a 14-mile stretch of closed course had been set up to give no-point tickets for charity. The drivers were advised that suggested speeding "fines" of $800 would be given for speeds between 200 and 209 mph and $1000 for 210-plus mph. Unfortunately Richard Losee, who is an experienced professional driver, remembers very little of what happened next.

The official highway patrol report tells the story: "He encountered several swells in the roadway and his car became airborne briefly. When the car again contacted the road, the frame struck the ground. The car began to slide to its right side and completed a 360 degree rotation as it left the road to the left. It then struck an embankment and was vaulted into the air. It flew a considerable distance and then landed. The engine and transmission as well as several other components became separated from the car as it began tumbling along the side of the road. The car then slid across the highway while upside down and, after leaving the road to the right, it tipped back onto its wheels just as it came to a rest."
 Losee's Wrecked Enzo Ferrari
Several weeks later, a Highway Patrol Trooper, accompanied by a Fast Pass official, came to Losee’s home and gave him a ticket for 206 mph for the charity, the speed established through their intensive accident investigation. The Trooper told him they would go to court on that figure and that it could have been higher. That is the highest known recorded speed and accident on a Utah highway. News of Richard Losee’s accident, and details about the Utah Fast Pass, made the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

"Basically, the car was disintegrated," said UHP Captain Doug McCleve, "My heart sank, and quite honestly, I expected the worst." Richard Losee was seriously injured and life flighted to the hospital with fractured C1 and C2 vertebrae, a broken sternum, several broken ribs, a broken right hand and a severe concussion. Losee was under a neurosurgeon's care for a year, but was eventually given a clean bill of health.

According to Richard Losee, "the mistake that was made was in not having the participants pre-drive the closed course," Looking back, Captain McCleve agrees that allowing the drivers to see the road before going hundreds of miles an hour on it may have prevented the accident. "The best scenario would have been to put them in a van or something and to actually drive the course. We didn't do that," said Captain McCleve.

While recuperating, Richard Losee made the decision to rebuild his car. Losee said, "My grandfather taught me as a youth that if you ever get bucked off a horse, you have to get back on it." Mr. Losee is known to be a purist, however after reviewing the almost complete destruction of his car, he decided that with his Enzo no longer being a pristine original example, Mr. Ferrari himself would not have minded that the Enzo was to be reconstructed even stronger and faster with SCTA required roll bar and safety equipment, and enhanced by tuned, twin turbos. After two and a half years of tireless work by a team of professional engineers and mechanics, the Enzo was completely rebuilt at Miller Motorsports Park and Steve Harris Imports, the authorized Ferrari dealership in Utah, with supplied parts from Ferrari North America.

Richard Losee created RSL Racing which included project manager Kevin Marsh, and Certified Ferrari Technician, Randy Felice. Losee took his team to the Bonneville Salt Flats to participate in the SCTA (Southern California Timing Association) Speed Week in August and the associated USFRA (Utah Salt Flats Racing Association) event in September, testing various set-ups and fine tuning the car. This time was also used for Losee to get "salt" time behind the wheel and complete his licensing runs in preparation for the World Finals.
Richard Losee, Enzo Ferrari Driver
Finally, RSL Racing was ready for their assault on the record and headed to the World Finals in October. For the record runs, the Enzo was run in its stock, factory configuration with the addition of the safety equipment and twin turbos. The team "qualified" for the record with a 221.316 mph run on the previous record of 213.176 mph. However, in order to achieve an official record, the run had to be performed twice with the average of the two runs setting the record. Unfortunately an unexpected chute deployment during the second "record" run resulted in a missed opportunity. Adding to the dismay of the team, another team which had also qualified for the record was able to capitalize on their attempt and reset the record to 231.804 mph.

"We were really disappointed that we were unable to get the record because the chute fell out," explained tuner Shane Tecklenburg of Mission Viejo, CA. "We were getting ready to load up after our debriefing meeting thinking that we really didn't have a shot at a speed that high because we are out of gear using the stock drivetrain in the Enzo. But after a few calculations we determined that we might be able to get there by raising the factory rpm limit."

Richard Losee and his team decided to make an additional attempt, the result of which was a 228 mph pass which was not enough to qualify. It was determined more power was needed in order to achieve the speeds required for a record run. World's Fastest Enzo FerrariAdditional boost was programmed into the Ferrari's twin turbochargers. On the morning of October 9th Losee headed to the start line in his Enzo Ferrari, as the World Finals were coming to a close.

The qualifying run averaged an extraordinary speed of 237.600 mph, with an exit speed of 238.934 mph. With a quick turn around the car was brought back to the staging area for the second run to officially back-up the record setting speed. Now, as the final car to run in the World Finals, Richard Losee, on his second run, averaged a higher speed of 238.142 mph setting a new SCTA world land speed class (C/BFMS) record of 237.871 mph and title of the fastest Enzo Ferrari in the world. Captain McCleve stated: "To be able to get back in that car, the same car as much as possible, and be able to go out and set that land speed record is truly an incredible, incredible accomplishment."

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