Video of the Day: Donohue breaks closed-course record

It was August 9, 1975. Nobody knew, however Mark Donohue had simply 10 days to reside. Nonetheless, like most race drivers within the numerous high racing collection around the globe, he had lived an outright lot of life. Engineer, driver and now group supervisor for Penske, he registered one final accomplishment earlier than assembly his maker: Setting a world-record close-course common lap velocity of 221.160.

Donohue would die from a mind hemorrhage on August 19, 1975, ensuing from an accident two days earlier throughout apply for the Austrian Grand Prix. Donohue had stepped out of driving retirement and right into a Penske PC1 High Airbox Formula One car. Extremely developed abilities, with a confirmed group behind him, couldn’t cease his appointment with future.

However this video is one among triumph, not tragedy. IndyCar and NASCAR have been each posting 200 mph laps. On March 24, 1970, Buddy Baker drove a Dodge Daytona for a tire check at Talladega Superspeedway. Baker turned the primary driver to interrupt the 200-mph barrier on a closed circuit together with his quickest lap on the two.66-mile oval at 200.447 mph.

IndyCar driver Jerry Grant broke the barrier at Ontario Motor Speedway in September 1972 with a lap of 201.4. Teammate Bobby Unser would elevate the bar the following day with a lap of 201.9. By 1975, IndyCars have been working the 210-plus vary usually in qualifying.

Evidently, just like the Area Race of the identical period, tire firms and producers equipped for breaking the closed course report and elevating the bar. Penske was on the forefront. “Captain Good,” because the amiable Donohue was identified, was very centered on gathering this report. However lengthy hours and stress had additionally taken a toll as a brand new nickname was derived: “Darkish Monohue.”

This specifically ready Porsche 917-30, a automotive developed from the dominant 1973 Can-Am automotive, was as much as the duty – and little doubt Donohue, a world-class profitable driver made for Kismet. The lap report of 221.160 wouldn’t be damaged till 11 years later by Rick Mears at Michigan Worldwide.

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