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‘Cannonball Run’ record shattered with cross-USA drive in 27 hours

Talk about lead foot drivers. What can only be described as a “dynamic trio” has shattered the “Cannonball Run” cross-country driving record.

They did it in just 27 hours and 25 minutes. Don’t jump into your car just yet to see if you can break this new record. It can’t be legally done.  Driving across the U.S. at legal speed limits would take much, much longer.

The team of Arne Toman and Doug Tabutt are officially the new record holders for the fastest drive across America in history, according to Road & Track. They had some help from spotter Berkely Chadwick and a huge team along the way.

They weren’t doing it as part of a race or competition. Toman says it was a solo effort by the team. Their goal was to beat the record set by another team back in 2013. That team completed the drive from sea-to-shining sea in just under 29 hours. That beat the previous record by two hours.

So, what kind of wheels do you have to have to drive across the country in just over a day? Toman and Tabutt used a modified 2015 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG sedan. They had left New York City on November 10 and arrived in Redondo Beach, California the next day.  

They took I-80, I-76, I-70 and I-15 and had an average speed of 103 miles per hour. Their top speed was 193 mph. They’re not saying where that was.

“Modified” may be an understatement when it comes to their car, though. Toman says he has a background in performance cars. First, the team had to make the car look as indescript as possible. They tuned their sedan to 700 hp and installed a fuel cell in the tank. That gave them extended range so they didn’t have to stop for fill-ups as often as your typical car.

They also added a bunch of electronic devices to make sure the police didn’t nab them in a speed trap. We’re talking the works when it comes to literally staying under the radar. They had radar detectors, laser jammers, and police scanners to avoid getting ticketed.

There also had an imaging camera mounted to the roof that allowed them to look for police cars hiding on the side of the highways. And there was a secret “ingredient” they’re not sharing – an “underground” app. 

Plus, there was a lot of extra help in addition to the spotter vehicle. Lots of help. In all there were 18 scout vehicles that met up with them at various points along the way helping them by driving ahead and checking for traffic, road obstacles, and of course, police speed traps.

“Anyone who’s done it realizes how safely it can be done,” Toman said. “We’re not passing on the shoulder. You try not to negatively effect anybody on the road. Drawing attention just gets you called into the police.”

Still, as noted earlier. Don’t try this in your own car with a group of friends. It’s illegal. And it could be dangerous. As the police warnings say, “arrive alive.”

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