Another world record for OPEL!

Another world record for OPEL!

09.10.2018: Never before has a person within 24 hours covered a distance of more than 1,219 kilometres . powered purely by their own muscular strength. This was changed on July 28 to 29, because at 10:00 that morning Nicola (Nici

Never before has a person within 24 hours covered  a distance of more than 1,219 kilometres . powered purely by their own muscular strength. This was changed on July 28 to 29, because at 10:00 that morning Nicola (Nici) Walde started her world record attempt at the OPEL Test Center in Rodgau-Dudenhofen, Germany.

Her equipment was a three-wheel recumbent bicycle with a full fairing which can reach a maximum speed of 90 km/h. The so-called velomobile is an aerodynamically sophisticated one-of-a-kind machine, designed and built by Nici's partner Daniel Fenn. The bike is 257 cm long, 64 cm wide, 88 cm high and weighs just 14 kilograms. The 44-year-old athlete tackled the existing 24-hour world record for women (1,012 kilometres) and men (1,219 kilometres).

Born in Hamburg, she holds the 12-hour HPV world record (Human Powered Vehicles e.V.) for women since 2015. OPEL supported the 24-hour marathon by providing the venue with the 4.8-kilometre long high-speed circuit. The OPEL brand is also Nici Walde's mobility partner.

 The sportswoman travelled to Dudenhofen with her velomobile in an OPEL Vivaro, and during the record ride the OPEL Ampera-e served as a service vehicle. Fittingly, the OPEL Ampera-e is also a range champion, featuring an electric range of a whopping 520 kilometres (according to the New European Driving Cycle)!

OPEL supported this ambitious project because Nici Walde's determination and attitude also reflects the spirit of the OPEL brand and the company: Believe in Yourself, in Success and in the Future! #WeBelieve is the fitting motto and hashtag of the world record attempt.

Prominent supporters who also live according to this motto were present in Rodgau-Dudenhofen for the special event, namely André Lange, the most successful bobsleigh pilot at the Winter Olympics and two-time Olympic quadruple scull champion, as well as rower Karl Schulze - they both kept their fingers crossed for Nici Walde. OPEL brand ambassador and Le Mans and Nürburgring 24-hour race winner - Joachim (Jockel) Winkelhock - was also on site for the world record attempt.

In July Nici beat the women's world record for the greatest distance traveled in a human-powered vehicle (HPV) in 24 hours. Using a streamlined recumbent tricycle, Nici managed 227 laps of the Opel Test Center in Rodgau-Dudenhofen for a total of 1,088 km (676 mi) in 24 hours. She beat the previous record of 1,012 km (628.8 mi) in just under 22 hours, and pushed onward to set her new mark. Just staying awake through the exhausting night proved a challenge in itself.

"I can't even think straight," Walde said at the finish line. "To break the women's 24-hour world record was my goal. It's too bad it rained - that got in the way of achieving even more. But I know one thing: This fantastic endeavour would not have been possible without Opel and their great support."

Weather conditions certainly didn't help. Temperatures up to 30° C (86° F) made for a sweaty ride in her enclosed velomobile, and "torrential" rain on the track added rolling resistance, so she had to give up on her stretch goal of knocking off the men's record of 1,219 km (757.5 mi) as well, and settle for just the women's world record to go with her previous women's 12-hour endurance HPV record.

The bike, specially constructed for the attempt by Walde's partner Daniel Finn, measured 257 cm long, 64 cm wide and 88 cm high (101.2 x 25.2 x 34.6 in). The whole device weighed in at just 14 kg (30.1 lb) despite its full aerodynamic fairing. Walde reached speeds up to 56 km/h (34.8 mph) during the run.

ADAM OPEL - the bicycle millionaire

OPEL has a long tradition in cycling. Company founder Adam OPEL's five sons themselves were  successful racing cyclists and a picture of the brothers on their five-seater - the Quintuplet - is iconic. OPEL started manufacturing its own bicycles in 1886. It was thus one of the first companies to build bicycles in Germany, and OPEL was already the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world in the early 1920s.

The one-millionth OPEL bicycle was a single-piece production, proudly presented to the public on 21 July 1926. And world records have also already been achieved: Belgian racing cyclist Léon Vanderstuyft set a world record near Paris on 28 September 1928 . With the legendary OPEL ZR III racing bike converted for the track, he reached the incredible speed of 122.77 km/h on his Swiss pacer Lehmann.

This world record on an OPEL bicycle was to stand for more than 50 years. At the end of 1936, the Rüsselsheim-based company sold their production to NSU in Neckarsulm. A total of 2,621,965 bikes were built over 51 years.

Subsequently, OPEL engineers have re-focused their attention on two- and three-wheel concept vehicles a number of times. At the 2011 Frankfurt IAA, OPEL presented the RAK-e, an electrically powered tandem seat model with a vehicle layout strongly reminiscent of a velomobile.

 The aerodynamically sophisticated RAK-e also has two wheels with a wider track on the front axle and is driven by closely mounted double rear wheels - very similar to a three-wheel recumbent bicycle. The study of a modern e-bike followed at the Geneva Motor Show in 2012. The RAD-e self-confidently showed elements of OPEL's design philosophy and was already set to cover up to 45 kilometres . purely electrically.

OPEL's Test Center in Rodgau-Dudenhofen, Germany: Very familiar with world records

The race track where Nici Walde set her new world record, is no stranger to record-breaking attempts: In 1972, OPEL astounded the public with an exciting diesel project. With an aerodynamically optimised GT-body, the Diesel GT set two world records and 18 international records for diesel vehicles at the OPEL Test Center in Dudenhofen.

Thanks to the turbocharger, the 2.1-litre engine produced what was at the time an astonishing 95 hp. For two days and three nights, the prototype was raced along the fast track by a team of racing drivers. The fastest clocked speed was 197 km/h over a distance of one thousand metres with a flying start! 46 years ago this was a sensational performance for a diesel engine.

In July 2003 the OPEL Eco Speedster set 17 international records within 24 hours at the OPEL Test Center, Dudenhofen. Not only was the powertrain trimmed for high performance for the record drives with the diesel prototype - the OPEL engineers also explored the limits of technology with regard to aerodynamics and weight. The two-seat vehicle was based on the production Speedster and had a carbon fibre body.

The highly efficient 1.3-litre mid-engine prototype with the spectacular long-tail body was powered by the world's smallest four-cylinder diesel engine, which was also offered for the OPEL Agila and OPEL Corsa at that time (51 kW / 70 hp).

OPEL is one of the oldest car brands operating in Southern Africa, and the brand has built a solid reputation over the 80+ years that OPEL has been in the country. The South African Motoring Guild voted the new OPEL ASTRA as the South African 'Car of the Year for 2017' after the new ASTRA was awarded 'Car of the Year' in 12 European countries, as well as 'Overall European Car of the Year'.

OPEL won the prestigious 'Car of the Year' award in South Africa on a few previous occasions as well - in 1991 (OPEL Monza), in 1994 (OPEL Kadett) and in 1995 (OPEL Astra). OPEL cars are known for offering luxury level specifications that represent a German-engineered punch high above their price category - hence the OPEL tag line: "The Future is Everyone's"

Lise Holloway - photo Opel


09.10.2018 / MaP

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