On April 23rd, 1911, the race driver Bob Burman set two new world records in the categories highest average speed over one mile out of a running start and highest average speed over one kilometer out of a running start. With his Benz-racecar, better known as the “Lightning-Benz” or “Blitzen-Benz”, he reached an average speed of exact 225,65 km/h over one mile and 228,1 km/h over one kilometer.
Shortly afterwards these records were targeted by the Italian Fiat work. The Fiat engineers wanted to succeed through a higher performance and at that time more horsepower was only achieved through higher engine displacement. To trump the Benz engine with its impressive 21.5-liter displacement, the engineers built a four-stroke engine with unbelievable 28.35-liter engine displacement. With a bore of 7.5 inch and a stroke of 9.843 inch the dimensions of the engine parts were downright gigantic. The engine had four cylinders which were pairwise casted together. Each cylinder required three ignition plugs to ensure a consistent ignition in all combustion chambers and an overhead camshaft operated four valves per cylinder. The monstrosity had a performance of 290 hp at a engine speed of 1,900 r.p.m.. Magneto ignition, water-cooling and a four-speed gearbox were other key data of the high-built engine, which was mounted right behind the front axle.
The bold factory driver Pietro Bordino achieved a high speed of almost 200 km/h with the Fiat on the British Brooklands racetrack in the year of 1911. There and also the attempt to beat the existing records in Saltburn Sands failed. On Dezember 18th, 1913, the target was just barely missed again. The 31-year old Duray achieved the necessary speed one way, but he failed to drive the course in reverse direction within an hour.
Watch the Beast at the Festival of Speed