Land speed record

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ThrustSSC, driven by Royal Air Force pilot Andy Green, holds the current land speed record at 1,220 km/h (760 mph) set October 15, 1997. ThrustSSC.jpg
ThrustSSC , driven by Royal Air Force pilot Andy Green, holds the current land speed record at 1,220 km/h (760 mph) set October 15, 1997.

The land speed record (or absolute land speed record) is the highest speed achieved by a person using a vehicle on land. There is no single body for validation and regulation; in practice the Category C ("Special Vehicles") flying start regulations are used, officiated by regional or national organizations under the auspices of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). [1] The land speed record (LSR) is standardized as the speed over a course of fixed length, averaged over two runs (commonly called "passes"). [2] Two runs are required in opposite directions within one hour, and a new record mark must exceed the previous one by at least one percent to be validated. [3]

Contents

History

The first regulators were the Automobile Club de France, who proclaimed themselves arbiters of the record in about 1902. [4]

Ralph DePalma in his Packard '905' Special at Daytona Beach in 1919 Rc05640.jpg
Ralph DePalma in his Packard '905' Special at Daytona Beach in 1919

Until 1903, trains held the land speed record for fastest vehicles in which people could travel.[ citation needed ]

Different clubs had different standards and did not always recognize the same world records [5] until 1924, when the Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR) introduced new regulations: two passes in opposite directions (to negate the effects of wind) averaged with a maximum of 30 minutes (later more) between runs, average gradient of the racing surface not more than 1 percent, timing gear accurate within 0.01sec, and cars must be wheel-driven. [6] National or regional auto clubs (such as AAA and SCTA) had to be AIACR members to ensure records would be recognized. [7] The AIACR became the FIA in 1947. Controversy arose in 1963: Spirit of America was not recognized due to its being a three-wheeler (leading the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme to certify it as a three-wheel motorcycle record when the FIA refused) and not wheel-driven so the FIA introduced a special jet and rocket propelled class. [8] No holder of the absolute record since has been wheel-driven.

In the U.S. & Australia, record runs are often done on salt flats, so the cars are often called salt cars.[ citation needed ]

Women's land speed record

Dorothy Levitt, in a 19 kW (26 hp) Napier, at Brooklands, England, in 1908 Miss Dorothy Levitt, in a 26hp Napier, Brooklands, 1908.jpg
Dorothy Levitt, in a 19 kW (26 hp) Napier, at Brooklands, England, in 1908

The FIA does not recognize separate men's and women's land speed records, but, for commercial or egalitarian or feminist reasons, unofficial women's records have long been claimed, seemingly starting with Dorothy Levitt's 1906 record in Blackpool, England, and, unlike the FIA and other car-racing organisations, the Guinness Book of World Records does recognize gender-based land speed records. [9]

In 1906 Dorothy Levitt broke the women's world speed record for the flying kilometer, recording a speed of 154 km/h (96 mph) and receiving the sobriquet the "Fastest Girl on Earth". She drove a six-cylinder Napier motorcar, a 75 kW (100 hp) development of the K5, in a speed trial in Blackpool. [10] [11] [12]

in 1963 Paula Murphy drove a Studebaker Avanti to 262 km/h (163 mph) at Bonneville Salt Flats as part of Andy Granatelli's attempt on the overall record. [9] In 1964 she was asked by the tire company Goodyear to try to improve her own record, which she raised to 364.31 km/h (226.37 mph) in Walt Arfons's jet dragster Avenger. [9] [13] The rival tire company Firestone and Art Arfons hit back against Goodyear and Walt Arfons when Betty Skelton drove Art's Cyclops to achieve a two-way average of 446.63 km/h (277.52 mph) in September 1965. [9]

But 5 weeks later Goodyear hit back against Firestone with Lee Breedlove. [9] While record keeping has not been as extensive, a report in 1974 confirmed that a record was held by Lee Breedlove, the wife of then overall record holder Craig Breedlove, who piloted her husband's Spirit of America – Sonic 1 to a record 496.492 km/h (308.506 mph) in 1965. [14] According to author Rachel Kushner, Craig Breedlove had talked Lee into taking the car out for a record attempt in order to monopolize the salt flats for the day and block one of his competitors from making a record attempt. [15]

In 1976, the women's absolute record was set by Kitty O'Neil, in the jet-powered, three-wheeled SMI Motivator , at the Alvord Desert. [16] Held back by her contract with a sponsor and using only 60 percent of her car's power, O'Neil reached 825.127 km/h (512.710 mph). [17] [18]

On October 9, 2013, driver Jessi Combs, in a vehicle of the North American Eagle Project running at the Alvord Desert, raised the women's four-wheel land speed class record with an official run of 632.40 km/h (392.954 mph), surpassing Breedlove's 48-year-old record. [19] Combs continued with the North American Eagle Project, whose ongoing target is the overall land speed record; as part of that effort, Combs was killed, on August 27, 2019, during an attempt to raise the four-wheel record. [20] In late June 2020, the Guinness Book of Records reclassified the August 27, 2019 speed runs as meeting its requirements, and Combs was credited with the record at 841.338 km/h (522.783 mph), noting she was the first to break the record in 40 years. [21]

Records

1898–1964 (wheel-driven)

DateLocationDriverVehiclePowerSpeedComments
Over 1 kmOver 1 mile
(mph)(km/h)(mph)(km/h)
December 18, 1898 Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Achères, France Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat Jeantaud Duc [22] Electric 39.2463.15 [23]
January 17, 1899 Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Achères, France Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Camille Jenatzy [22] GCA Dogcart Electric 41.4266.66 [23]
January 17, 1899 Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Achères, France Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat Jeantaud Duc Electric 43.9370.31 [23]
January 27, 1899 Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Achères, France Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Camille Jenatzy GCA Dogcart Electric 49.9380.35 [23]
March 4, 1899 Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Achères, France Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat Jeantaud Duc Profilée Electric 57.6592.78 [23]
April 29, 1899 Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Achères, France Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Camille Jenatzy CITA No 25 La Jamais Contente Electric 65.79105.88First purpose designed land speed racer. [24] First record over 100 km/h (62 mph) [23]
April 13, 1902 Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Nice, France Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Léon Serpollet Gardner-Serpollet
Œuf de Pâques (Easter Egg)
Steam [4] 75.06120.80
August 5, 1902 Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Ablis, France Flag of the United States (1896-1908).svg William K. Vanderbilt Mors Z Paris-VienneInternal combustion76.03122.438First internal combustion powered record [4]
November 5, 1902 Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Dourdan, France Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Henri Fournier Mors Z Paris-VienneInternal combustion
V4, 9.2-litre, 60 bhp
76.59123.25 [25]
November 17, 1902 Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Dourdan, France Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Maurice Augières Mors Z Paris-VienneInternal combustion77.13124.13 [23]
July 17, 1903 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Ostend, Belgium Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Arthur Duray Gobron Brillié Paris-MadridInternal combustion83.46132.32First time Railway speed record exceeded [23]
November 5, 1903 Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Dourdan, France Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Arthur Duray Gobron Brillié Paris-MadridInternal combustion84.73136.35 [25]
January 12, 1904 Flag of the United States (1896-1908).svg New Baltimore, United States Flag of the United States (1896-1908).svg Henry Ford Ford 999 RacerInternal combustion84.73136.3591.37147.05 [26]
March 31, 1904 Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Nice, France Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Louis Rigolly Gobron-Brillié Paris-MadridInternal combustion94.78152.53 [23]
May 25, 1904 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Ostend, Belgium Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Pierre de Caters Mercedes Simplex 90Internal combustion97.25156.50 [23]
July 21, 1904 [25] Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Ostend, Belgium Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Louis Rigolly Gobron-Brillié Gordon BennettInternal combustion103.56166.66First record over 100 mph (161 km/h), [23] 2 months after City of Truro's.
November 13, 1904 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Ostend, Belgium Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Paul Baras Darracq Gordon BennettInternal combustion104.53168.22 [23]
December 30, 1905 Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Arles, France Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Victor Hémery Darracq SpecialInternal combustion109.59176.37 [23]
January 26, 1906 Flag of the United States (1896-1908).svg Daytona Beach, United States Flag of the United States (1896-1908).svg Fred Marriott Stanley Rocket [6] Steam127.66205.44First record over 200 km/h (124 mph). First speed greater than contemporary rail speed record. Held record for steam-powered vehicles until 2009. [27]
November 8, 1909 [28] Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Brooklands, United Kingdom Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Victor Hémery Benz No 1
200 hp (150 kW)
Internal combustion:
21.5 L (1,310 cu in) inline-4 Benz engine
125.94202.68115.93186.57First run using electronic timing [6]
June 24, 1914 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Brooklands, United Kingdom Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Lydston Hornsted Benz No 3
200 hp (150 kW)
Internal combustion:
21.5 L (1,310 cu in) inline-4 Benz engine
124.09199.70First 2-way record, set at Brooklands under new Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR) 2-way rule [6]
May 17, 1922 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Brooklands, United Kingdom Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Kenelm Lee Guinness Sunbeam 350 hpV12, single o.h.c, 18.3 litre,
350 b.h.p. engine
133.75215.25The third and last time the record was set at Brooklands [25]
July 6, 1924 Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Arpajon, France Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg René Thomas Délage Internal combustion, V12, ohv, 10.6 litre, 280 bhp engine143.31230.634 [25]
July 12, 1924 Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Arpajon, France Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Ernest Eldridge FIAT Mephistopheles Internal combustion:
21.7 L (1,320 cu in) inline-6 FIAT A.12 aero engine
145.89234.98Fastest land speed record ever on a public road [6]
September 25, 1924 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Pendine, United Kingdom Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Malcolm Campbell Sunbeam 350HP Internal combustion:
18.3 L (1,120 cu in) V12 Sunbeam aero engine
146.16235.22First land speed record by Malcolm Campbell [29]
July 21, 1925 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Pendine, United Kingdom Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Malcolm Campbell Sunbeam 350HP Internal combustion:
18.3 L (1,120 cu in) V12 Sunbeam aero engine
150.87242.8First person to travel over 150 mph (241 km/h) [29]
March 16, 1926 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Ainsdale beach at Southport, United Kingdom Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Henry Segrave Ladybird Internal combustion: a 4-litre Sunbeam Tiger
152.33245.15
April 27, 1926 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Pendine, United Kingdom Flag of the United Kingdom.svg J. G. Parry-Thomas Babs Internal combustion:
27 L (1,600 cu in) V12 Liberty L-12 aero engine
169.29270.864168.74269.984 [30]
April 28, 1926 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Pendine, United Kingdom Flag of the United Kingdom.svg J. G. Parry-Thomas Babs Internal combustion:
27 L (1,600 cu in) V12 Liberty L-12 aero engine
172.09275.341171.69274.590 [31]
February 4, 1927 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Pendine, United Kingdom Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Malcolm Campbell Napier-Campbell Blue Bird Internal combustion:
22.3 L (1,360 cu in) W12 Napier Lion aero engine
174.88281.44 [29]
March 29, 1927 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Daytona Beach, United States Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Henry Segrave Mystery
(aka "Sunbeam 1000 hp")
Internal combustion:
2 × 22.4 L (1,370 cu in) V12 Sunbeam Matabele aero engines
203.79327.97The first car to reach a speed over 200 mph (320 km/h) [32]
February 19, 1928 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Daytona Beach, United States Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Malcolm Campbell Napier-Campbell Blue Bird Internal combustion:
23.9 L (1,460 cu in) W12 Napier Lion aero engine
206.956333.048 [7]
April 22, 1928 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Daytona Beach, United States Flag of the United States.svg Ray Keech Triplex Special Internal combustion:
3 × 27 L (1,600 cu in) V12 Liberty L-12 aero engines
207.552334.007 [33]
March 11, 1929 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Daytona Beach, United States Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Henry Segrave Golden Arrow Internal combustion:
23.9 L (1,460 cu in) W12 Napier Lion aero engine
231.446372.459Segrave was knighted for this effort. [34]
February 5, 1931 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Daytona Beach, United States [25] Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Malcolm Campbell Campbell-Napier-Railton Blue Bird Internal combustion:
23.9 L (1,460 cu in) W12 Napier Lion supercharged aero engine
246.09396.025Campbell was knighted for this effort. [34]
February 24, 1932 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Daytona Beach, United States Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Malcolm Campbell Campbell-Napier-Railton Blue Bird Internal combustion:
23.9 L (1,460 cu in) W12 Napier Lion supercharged aero engine
253.97408.73First 250 mph (400 km/h) pass. [29]
February 22, 1933 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Daytona Beach, United States Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Malcolm Campbell Campbell-Railton Blue Bird Internal combustion:
36.7 L (2,240 cu in) V12 Rolls-Royce R supercharged aero engine
272.46438.48 [29]
March 7, 1935 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Daytona Beach, United States Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Malcolm Campbell Campbell-Railton Blue Bird Internal combustion:
36.7 L (2,240 cu in) V12 Rolls-Royce R supercharged aero engine
276.816445.472 [34]
September 3, 1935 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Bonneville Salt Flats, United States Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Malcolm Campbell Campbell-Railton Blue Bird Internal combustion:
36.7 L (2,240 cu in) V12 Rolls-Royce R supercharged aero engine
301.129484.598First 300 mph (480 km/h) pass, first absolute record set at Bonneville [34]
November 19, 1937 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Bonneville Salt Flats, United States Flag of the United Kingdom.svg George Eyston Thunderbolt Internal combustion:
2 × 36.7 L (2,240 cu in) V12 Rolls-Royce R supercharged aero engines
311.42501.16 [34]
August 27, 1938 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Bonneville Salt Flats, United States Flag of the United Kingdom.svg George Eyston ThunderboltInternal combustion:
2 × 36.7 L (2,240 cu in) V12 Rolls-Royce R supercharged aero engines
345.49 [34] 556.012
September 15, 1938 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Bonneville Salt Flats, United States Flag of the United Kingdom.svg John Cobb RailtonInternal combustion:
2 × 23.9 L (1,460 cu in) W12 Napier Lion supercharged aero engines
350.2563.566 [34]
September 16, 1938 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Bonneville Salt Flats, United States Flag of the United Kingdom.svg George Eyston ThunderboltInternal combustion:
2 × 36.7 L (2,240 cu in) V12 Rolls-Royce R supercharged aero engines
357.5575.314 [34]
August 23, 1939 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Bonneville Salt Flats, United States Flag of the United Kingdom.svg John Cobb Railton Special Internal combustion:
2 × 23.9 L (1,460 cu in) W12 Napier Lion supercharged aero engines
369.74 [34] 595.04367.91592.091
September 16, 1947 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Bonneville Salt Flats, United States Flag of the United Kingdom.svg John Cobb Railton Mobil Special Internal combustion:
2 × 23.9 L (1,460 cu in) W12 Napier Lion supercharged aero engines
394.196 [6] 634.397394.19634.39First single pass at over 400 mph (402 mph)
July 17, 1964 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Lake Eyre, Australia Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Donald Campbell Bluebird CN7 Turboshaft: 1 × 4,000 hp (3,000 kW) Bristol Proteus gas turbine403.10 [35] [36] 648.73Last wheel-driven absolute record that was superseded by the ratification of Spirit of America (see below)

1963–present (jet and rocket propulsion)

Craig Breedlove's mark of 407.447 miles per hour (655.722 km/h), [8] [37] set in Spirit of America in September 1963, was initially considered unofficial. The vehicle breached the FIA regulations on two grounds: it had only three wheels, and it was not wheel-driven, since its jet engine did not supply power to its axles. Some time later, the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme created a non-wheel-driven category, and ratified Spirit of America's time for this mark. [8] On July 17, 1964, Donald Campbell's Bluebird CN7 posted a speed of 403.10 miles per hour (648.73 km/h) on Lake Eyre, Australia. This became the official FIA LSR, although Campbell was disappointed not to have beaten Breedlove's time. [38] In October, several four-wheel jet-cars surpassed the 1963 mark, but were eligible for neither FIA nor FIM ratification. [38] The confusion of having three different LSRs lasted until December 11, 1964, when the FIA and FIM met in Paris and agreed to recognize as an absolute LSR the higher speed recorded by either body, by any vehicles running on wheels, whether wheel-driven or not. [39]

DateLocationDriverVehiclePowerSpeedComments
Over 1 kmOver 1 mile
(mph)(km/h)(mph)(km/h)
August 5, 1963 Flag of the United States.svg Bonneville Salt Flats, United States Flag of the United States.svg Craig Breedlove Spirit of America Turbojet 407.447655.722 [8] [37] Initially considered unofficial since the vehicle had 3 wheels. Later ratified by FIM.
October 2, 1964 Flag of the United States.svg Bonneville Salt Flats, United States Flag of the United States.svg Tom Green Wingfoot Express Turbojet 413.2665.0 [8]
October 5, 1964 Flag of the United States.svg Bonneville Salt Flats, United States Flag of the United States.svg Art Arfons Green Monster Turbojet 434.03698.50 [8]
October 13, 1964 Flag of the United States.svg Bonneville Salt Flats, United States Flag of the United States.svg Craig Breedlove Spirit of America Turbojet 468.719754.330 [23]
October 15, 1964 Flag of the United States.svg Bonneville Salt Flats, United States Flag of the United States.svg Craig Breedlove Spirit of America Turbojet 526.277846.961 [23]
October 27, 1964 Flag of the United States.svg Bonneville Salt Flats, United States Flag of the United States.svg Art Arfons Green Monster Turbojet 536.710863.751 [23]
November 2, 1965 Flag of the United States.svg Bonneville Salt Flats, United States Flag of the United States.svg Craig Breedlove Spirit of America – Sonic 1 Turbojet 555.485893.966555.485893.966 [40]
November 7, 1965 Flag of the United States.svg Bonneville Salt Flats, United States Flag of the United States.svg Art Arfons Green Monster Turbojet 576.553927.872576.553927.872 [23]
November 15, 1965 Flag of the United States.svg Bonneville Salt Flats, United States Flag of the United States.svg Craig Breedlove Spirit of America – Sonic 1 Turbojet 594955.950600.601966.574 [41]
October 23, 1970 Flag of the United States.svg Bonneville Salt Flats, United States Flag of the United States.svg Gary Gabelich Blue Flame Rocket 630.4781014.656622.4071001.667 [42]
October 4, 1983 Flag of the United States.svg Black Rock Desert, United States Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Richard Noble Thrust2 Turbojet: 1 × Rolls-Royce Avon 634.0511020.406633.471019.47 [42]
September 25, 1997 Flag of the United States.svg Black Rock Desert, United States Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Andy Green ThrustSSC Turbofan: 2 × Rolls-Royce Spey 713.9901149.055714.1441149.303 [42]
October 15, 1997 Flag of the United States.svg Black Rock Desert, United States Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Andy Green ThrustSSC Turbofan: 2 × Rolls-Royce Spey 760.3431223.657763.0351227.986 [43] First to break the speed of sound

See also

Related Research Articles

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References

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