Under normal circumstances, the infamous Cannonball record is broken very infrequently. When Arne Toman and Doug Tabbutt smashed out the 2826-mile New York to Los Angeles run in an astonishing 27 hours and 25 minutes last November at an average speed of 103mph, it was assumed the record would stand for some time. If it could be beaten at all, that is.
However, 2020 is about as far from normal circumstances as is possible. Lockdown restrictions put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19 reduced traffic levels dramatically in the USA, providing an all-too tempting environment for Cannonballing. There were many attempts in a short space of time, and the record fell several times.
Now, it’s emerged that Toman and Tabbutt also took advantage of a quieter road network back in May, reclaiming the Cannonball Record by dispatching the journey in 25 hours and 39 minutes. This gives an incredible average speed of 110mph.
A C7 Chevrolet Corvette was considered for the run, but the pair - who were joined by Dunadel Daryoush - settled on an Audi S6. Equipment was plundered from various other Cannonball cars, including the Mercedes E63 used for the November 2019 run (which had been rear-ended by a lorry). The finishing touch was to disguise the vehicle as a Ford Taurus, in a bid to make it look like an unmarked police car.
The top speed achieved by the S6 was - in the end - much lower than the 193mph managed with the E63. Due to buffeting over 160mph, the team managed ‘only’ 175mph. It was thought and one point that a tyre issue would stop the run, but it turned out Tabbutt wasn’t used to the sensation of lane assistance in a modern car…
In a video from VinWiki, Toman admitted that the sense of accomplishment wasn’t as high this time around. “While it’s a great achievement, it just doesn’t have the same impact to me as 27:25 did,” he said.