Thursday 31st January 1980
Born on this day, Alan van der Merwe, South African 2003 British F3 Champion. He managed to write his name down in the record books as the first driver in history to go faster than 400 km/h in an F1. With Alan as Honda’s official Project Bonneville 400 driver he can rightfully claim to be the fastest Formula 1 driver ever – on a straight line. In July of 2006 the Honda F1 team broke FIA class world records with Alan behind the wheel of one of their especially prepared Formula 1 cars with a 3-litre V10 engine, ending up with an average speed of 397.360 kph [246.908 mph] over two runs of the Bonneville flying mile. At the same time, he set a new class record for the flying kilometer, with an average speed of 397.481 kph [246.983 mph]. Both speeds as well as the one-way mark of 400.459 km/h are the fastest officially measured speed by an F1 car. He has also been racing in the A1 Grand Prix World Cup for Team South Africa.