The VRS nomenclature has been a part of the Skoda marque for 10 years now and to mark the anniversary, Skoda UK set out to take a stock Octavia to the Bonneville salt flats and take part in the legendary Bonneville Speed Week. The car was built inside a three week period which involved gutting the vehicle and installing a fully custom space frame roll cage to meet the record regulations. Further regulations state that the exterior of the car has to remain basically as you would buy it as stock so there are few modifications to be done there, bar some unobtrusive fins that run along the roof of the car which keep it on the straight and narrow should the car go wayward. If you look closely you can see that there are some subtle concessions to user-friendliness, namely a small pipe retrofitted to the (absent) wingmirror housing which funnels air into the cabin at 200mph. Super narrow, 200mph approved tyres dig into the salt and are fitted to solid steel space-saver wheels with unique moon buggy style discs on the outside for enhanced aerodynamics.
A technician recalled to us the curiosity of the environment whereby in the sweltering 40deg heat, he noticed some of the locals walking about with bare feet. It turns out that the because the salt retains a lot of water, it also remains cool, even when the air temperature is 40 degrees!
It's fair to say that Skoda have the market share when it comes to team cars in the Pro Tour. You only have to watch any professional cycle race from the one day classics in the spring, through to the Tour De France in the summer, to see the level of domination. Rapha Condor Sharp are supported at great depth by Skoda UK who provide a veritable fleet of cars and vans to keep the guys on the road throughout the season. The brand new Skoda Superbs are kitted out with a professional bike racks on the roofs which allow 7 bikes and multiple spare wheels to be carried on board.
It is obviously great to have a good relationship with any car manufacturer, but in this instance it is extra special to have developed such a strong relationship with a marque who has a racing heritage that few of us realise and who is so keen to push forward the boundaries of what they are doing.
Read more about the Skoda Bonneville Salt Flats record here.