Which British car still holds 36 UK Land Speed Records?
Would it surprise you to know that it’s a Rover?
The Rover 200 Coupé was launched in 1992, designed as a unique derivative of the highly successful Rover 200/400 Series range. To establish the car’s credentials as a potent and reliable high-performance coupé (codenamed Tomcat), a group of Rover employees working on the about-to-be-launched model established ‘The Tomcat Affair’ team to break as many official UK Land Speed Records as possible. Their activities centred on the building of 2 special cars to run on the high-speed circuit at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire.
The first record-breaking run on 28/29th August 1992 was curtailed due to driveshaft problems, so it was re-run on 26/27th September. This second run was hindered by fog during the night but, between the 2 runs, 37 UK Land Speed Records were broken, 36 of which still stand today. Around 200 employees were involved including drivers, engineers, technicians, logistics experts and the Longbridge plant fire crew.
The records broken in 1992 were 22 Class E (1500~2000cc) and 15 ‘Open’, wheel-driven, no restriction on engine size. These included 156mph for the flying 5km distance and 138.43mph for the 24 hours, standing start.
The Rover 200 and 400 Owners Club and the Rover Coupé Owners Club are joining forces and planning a unique celebration of the The Tomcat Affair on Sunday August 28th 2022, 30 years to the day after the first attempt. The clubs have teamed up with UTAC, the owners of the Millbrook Proving Ground, to recreate aspects of the event including an opportunity to drive on the same banked, high-speed circuit, but this time at closer to UK motorway speeds than the 156mph originally achieved!
Owners of original or near-original road-going Rover 200 Coupés are invited to complete an application form for this exclusive event below.
Priority will be given to full members of the Rover Coupé Owners Club and Rover 200 and 400 Owners Club so, if you’re not already a member, it is recommended that you join either club before applying. Participants in the 1992 Tomcat Affair project will be in attendance on the day too and this is being arranged in conjunction with the Austin Rover/Rover Group alumni page on LinkedIn.
There is likely to be a small entry fee, to cover the running cost of the event, and this will be announced once the full plan is in place. The entry will be for up to 2 occupants per car and, being a test facility, unfortunately no one under 16 is able to attend. Similarly, no pets are allowed at the event. It is hoped that there will be sufficient spare seats to be able to offer a ride to members of the original Tomcat Affair team.
Safety is paramount, so safety cars will be ‘top and tailing’ the run on the circuit. Please be aware that as this event is not on the public road, your normal car insurance will not cover you. Similarly, breakdown cover will not cover you on-site.
The Rover 200 and 400 Owners Club and the Rover Coupé Owners Club wish to express their grateful thanks to UTAC for allowing access to the proving ground, making this celebration possible.
Please note – the application form requires you to upload three photographs. You may wish to have them ready before you start. These are
- Near Side Front, 3 quarter view
- Off Side Rear, 3 quarter view
- View through open driver’s door showing seat and dashboard.
If you have any diffculties filling in the form, or for any other questions please email email@example.com