Beautiful Photos Show Custom Cars Racing In Utah's Salt Lake Desert

simon davidson photographs bonneville speed week

Photo: Simon Davidson

The remains of a lake in northwest Utah that dried up thousands of years ago, the Bonneville Salt Flats, were rather useless until someone discovered that the flat, smooth ground was the perfect venue for racing cars.Today, the Salt Flats are a mecca of land speed records and are home to racing events like Bonneville Speed Week and the Bonneville World Finals, both hosted by the Southern California Timing Association.

The stark landscape and amazing cars that come to test their stuff are the subject of a series by photographer Simon Davidson. Davidson, a New Zealander whose work often focuses on car culture, shared the photos with us.

The Salt Flats are part of the Great Salt Lake Desert.

They are surrounded by several small mountain ranges.

They've been the site of motor sporting events since 1912.

The first land speed record at Bonneville was set in 1935, when Sir Malcolm Campbell broke the 300mph barrier.

Flags and cones mark the 'track.'

Jim Jensen is the chief starter at the Southern California Timing Association.

The name 'Sunnyside Up' is appropriate — temperatures at Bonneville can reach scorching levels.

At Speed Week, spectators can explore the pits, speak with drivers and crew members, and check out the vehicles.

Entrants come from around the world, but most vehicles are American-built.

Some cars go so fast, they have parachutes to slow them down at the end of their run.

Some even have two.

Last week, George Poteet and Ron Main's Speed Demon became the world's fastest piston engine wheel-driven car.

Snyder's Salty 'Cuda hit 226.243 mph in August 2011 at Speed Week.

The McCambridge Bros.' car raced at Speed Week, this year.

Brothers Roy and Justin Fields built a roadster that topped 220 mph this August, but fell short of the 247.7 mph record for its category.

Some of the vehicles at Bonneville actually look like cars you see on the street every day.

Others, not so much.

Motorcycles pursue records at Bonneville, too.

And old-school cars show up in force.

They're among the coolest cars present.

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