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Thrust SSC
Thrust SSC at Coventry Transport Museum.jpg
Thrust SSC at the Coventry Transport Museum, where it is part of the permanent collection.
ManufacturerSSC Programme Limited
Designer Richard Noble, Glynne Bowsher, Ron Ayers, and Jeremy Bliss
Body and chassis
Class Land Speed Record vehicle
Engine two Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan:-
initially: Rolls-Royce Spey 202
finally: Rolls-Royce Spey 205
Length16.5 m (54 ft)
Width3.7 m (12 ft)
Curb weight 10.6 tonnes
Predecessor Thrust2
Successor Bloodhound LSR
The team with ThrustSSC
The team with ThrustSSC
ThrustSSC on display in the Coventry Transport Museum's Landspeed Gallery Thrust SSC Wide shot.jpg
ThrustSSC on display in the Coventry Transport Museum's Landspeed Gallery
Side view of Thrust SSC showing its branding and marks at Coventry Transport Museum Side view of Thrust SSC.jpg
Side view of Thrust SSC showing its branding and marks at Coventry Transport Museum
One of the engines in the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum Jets off the ThrustSSC supersonic car - - 1431049.jpg
One of the engines in the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum

ThrustSSC, Thrust SSC or Thrust SuperSonic Car is a British jet car developed by Richard Noble, Glynne Bowsher, Ron Ayers, and Jeremy Bliss. [1]


Thrust SSC holds the world land speed record, set on 15 October 1997, and driven by Andy Green, when it achieved a speed of 1,228 km/h (763 mph) and became the first land vehicle to officially break the sound barrier.

Both Thrust SSC and Thrust2 are displayed at the Coventry Transport Museum in Coventry, England. As part of the Museum's redevelopment project, both cars were relocated by specialist haulier from their position in the Museum's Spirit of Speed Gallery to the new Biffa Award Land Speed Record Gallery which opened in 2015. [2]

The car is 16.5 m (54 ft) long and 3.7 m (12 ft) wide and weighs nearly 10 tons. It had a total thrust of 223 kN (approximately 50,000 pounds force), equivalent to around 102,000 brake horsepower at the measured record speed (calculated using Power = Force x Velocity).


The car was driven by Royal Air Force fighter pilot Wing Commander Andy Green in the Black Rock Desert in the state of Nevada. It was powered by two afterburning Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan engines, as used in the British version of the F-4 Phantom II jet fighter. The twin engines developed a net thrust of 223 kN (50,000 lbf), giving a power output of roughly 102,000 bhp (76 MW) at the measured record speed of 341 metres per second, [3] burning around 18 litres/second (4.0 Imperial gallons/s or 4.8 US gallons/s) of fuel. Transformed into the usual terms for car mileages based on this speed, the fuel consumption was about 4,850 l/100 km (0.06 mpgimp; 0.05 mpgUS). The thermal power released by burning 18 litres/second of aviation fuel is approximately 630 MW which means the vehicle was operating at around 12% efficiency at its record speed, efficiency being the useful working power (76 MW) divided by the thermal power (630 MW).

The record run in October 1997 was preceded by extensive test runs of the vehicle in autumn 1996 and spring 1997 in the Al-Jafr desert (located in Ma'an Governorate) in Jordan, a location unknown before for its capabilities as a test range for high speed land vehicles, with numerous advantages compared to the salt deserts of the Western United States.[ clarification needed ]

After the record was set, the World Motor Sport Council released the following message:

The World Motor Sport Council homologated the new world land speed records set by the team ThrustSSC of Richard Noble, driver Andy Green, on 15 October 1997 at Black Rock Desert, Nevada (USA). This is the first time in history that a land vehicle has exceeded the speed of sound. The new records are as follows:
  • Flying mile       1227.985 km/h (763.035 mph)
  • Flying kilometre   1223.657 km/h (760.343 mph)
In setting the record, the sound barrier was broken in both the north and south runs.
Paris, 11 November 1997.

The complete run history is available. [4]


In 1983 Richard Noble had broken the world land speed record with his earlier car Thrust2, which reached a speed of 1,019 km/h (633 mph). The date of Andy Green's record came exactly a half century and one day after Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in Earth's atmosphere, with the Bell X-1 research rocket plane on 14 October 1947.

Both Thrust SSC and Thrust2 are displayed at the Coventry Transport Museum in Coventry, England. Visitors can ride a 4D motion simulator depicting a computer-generated animation of the record-breaking run from the perspective of Green. [5]

Several teams are competing to break the record, including the Bloodhound SSC project, launched in 2008, [6] and the North American Eagle Project, launched in 2004. [7]

Richard Noble Orange-Intel dispute

In June 2012, a television advertisement for the Orange San Diego mobile phone, containing an Intel processor, was broadcast on British television and featured a fast car in computer generated imagery. Richard Noble claimed that the car was a representation of Thrust SSC and thus these companies had used his intellectual property without permission, putting the future of the Bloodhound SSC project in doubt. The Advertising Standards Authority rejected the Bloodhound team's complaint, claiming that intellectual property disputes were not in its remit. According to BBC News technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones, Intel and Orange responded that their production team had researched different styles of "superfast vehicles" and developed their own Orange-branded land speed car, and that the advertisement and phone were not connected to Noble or Bloodhound SSC. [8]

See also


  1. ThrustSSC team
  2. "Thrust SSC takes to the road" . Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  3. The ThrustSSC Story
  4. Thrust SSC Run database
  5. Coventry Transport Museum – Landspeed Gallery
  6. Noble, Green and Team Target 1,000mph Record. Bloodhound Ssc (23 October 2008).
  7. Nash, Jim. "Rocket Man: Land-Speed Racer Pushes 1,000 MpH Barrier". Scientific American. Scientific American. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  8. BBC News – Orange, Intel, and a fast car furore. BBC. (27 June 2012).

Related Research Articles

Supersonic speed Speed that exceeds the speed of sound

Supersonic speed is the speed of an object that exceeds the speed of sound (Mach 1). For objects traveling in dry air of a temperature of 20 °C (68 °F) at sea level, this speed is approximately 343.2 m/s. Speeds greater than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5) are often referred to as hypersonic. Flights during which only some parts of the air surrounding an object, such as the ends of rotor blades, reach supersonic speeds are called transonic. This occurs typically somewhere between Mach 0.8 and Mach 1.2.

Sound barrier Sudden increase of undesirable effects when an aircraft approaches the speed of sound

The sound barrier or sonic barrier is the large increase in aerodynamic drag and other undesirable effects experienced by an aircraft or other object when it approaches the speed of sound. When aircraft first approaches the speed of sound, these effects are seen as constituting a barrier, making faster speeds very difficult or impossible. The term sound barrier is still sometimes used today to refer to aircraft approaching supersonic flight in this high drag regime. Flying faster than sound produces a sonic boom.

Land speed record Highest speed achieved by a person in a land vehicle

The 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 flying start regulations are used, officiated by regional or national organizations under the auspices of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). The land speed record (LSR) is standardized as the speed over a course of fixed length, averaged over two runs. 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.

Craig Breedlove

Craig Breedlove is an American professional race car driver and a five-time world land speed record holder. He was the first person in history to reach 500 mph (800 km/h), and 600 mph (970 km/h), using several turbojet-powered vehicles, all named Spirit of America.

Thrust2 Motor vehicle

Thrust2 is a British designed and built jet propelled car, which held the world land speed record from 4 October 1983 to 25 September 1997.

<i>Spirit of America</i> (automobile)

Spirit of America is the trademarked name used by Craig Breedlove for his land speed record-setting vehicles.

Gary Gabelich was an American motorsport driver who set the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Land Speed Record (LSR) with the rocket car Blue Flame on October 23, 1970, on a dry lake bed at Bonneville Salt Flats near Wendover, Utah.

<i>Blue Flame</i>

Blue Flame is a rocket-powered land speed racing vehicle that was driven by Gary Gabelich and achieved the world land speed record on Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah on October 23, 1970. The vehicle set the FIA world record for the flying mile at 622.407 mph (1,001.667 km/h) and the flying kilometer at 630.388 mph (1,014.511 km/h).

Budweiser Rocket

The Budweiser Rocket is an American 3-wheeled land vehicle, generally resembling the 1970-era Blue Flame land speed record holding vehicle in appearance, powered by a hybrid liquid and solid-fuel rocket engine with an extra booster from a Sidewinder missile, that has been claimed as being the first vehicle to have broken the sound barrier on land. The original forerunner to the vehicle was the "SMI Motivator" which was damaged badly enough to require a replacement, which in time was called the "Budweiser Rocket".

Richard Noble Scottish entrepreneur; holder of the land speed record from 1983 to 1997

Richard James Anthony Noble, OBE is a Scottish entrepreneur who was holder of the land speed record between 1983 and 1997. He was also the project director of ThrustSSC, the vehicle which holds the current land speed record, set at Black Rock Desert, Nevada in 1997.

Wing Commander Andrew Duncan Green is a British Royal Air Force fighter pilot and World Land Speed Record holder since 1997, the first land speed record to break the sound barrier.

JCB Dieselmax Motor vehicle

The JCB Dieselmax is a diesel-engined 'streamliner' car designed for the purpose of breaking the land speed record for a diesel-engined vehicle.

Ronald Ayers is an English engineer who was responsible for the aerodynamics of the land speed record-holding vehicles, ThrustSSC and JCB Dieselmax, and is chief Aerodynamicist for the Bloodhound SSC.

Rosco McGlashan OAM is an Australian drag racing record-holder, who currently holds the Australian land speed record at 500 mph (802.6 km/h). This record was set on the 27 March 1994 on the dry salt flats of Lake Gairdner, South Australia 440 km (270 mi) northwest of Adelaide.

North American Eagle Project

The North American Eagle Project was a jet powered car that was intended to challenge the 763 mph (1,228 km/h) land speed record set by the ThrustSSC in 1997. The venture was a collaboration between Canadian and US engineers, pilots, and mechanics. In 2013, they had hoped to reach 800 mph (1,287 km/h), or Mach 1.058.

Rocket car Land vehicle propelled by a rocket engine

A rocket car is a land vehicle propelled by a rocket engine. A rocket dragster is a rocket car used for competing in drag racing, and this type holds the unofficial world record for the 1/4 mile.

Bloodhound LSR, formerly Bloodhound SSC, is a British land vehicle designed to travel at supersonic speeds with the intention of setting a new world land speed record. The arrow-shaped car, under development since 2008, is powered by a jet engine and will be fitted with an additional rocket engine. The initial goal is to exceed the current speed record of 763 mph (1,228 km/h), with the vehicle believed to be able to achieve up to 1,000 miles per hour (1,609 km/h).

Daniel Jubb is a British rocket scientist. In a 17 November 2008 article from the British newspaper The Times, he was named "one of the world's leading rocket scientists", by the Royal Air Force Wing Commander Andy Green.

Intel AZ210

The Intel AZ210, also marketed as XOLO X900 in India, Orange San Diego in the United Kingdom and Megafon Mint in Russia, is a phone manufactured by Taiwanese OEM Gigabyte for Intel.

Aero-engined car

An aero-engined car is an automobile powered by an engine designed for aircraft use. Most such cars have been built for racing, and many have attempted to set world land speed records. While the practice of fitting cars with aircraft engines predates World War I by a few years, it was most popular in the interwar period between the world wars when military-surplus aircraft engines were readily available and used to power numerous high-performance racing cars. Initially powered by piston aircraft engines, a number of post-World War II aero-engined cars have been powered by aviation turbine and jet engines instead. Piston-engined, turbine-engined, and jet-engined cars have all set world land speed records. There have also been some non-racing automotive applications for aircraft engines, including production vehicles such as the Tucker 48 and prototypes such as the Chrysler Turbine Car, Fiat Turbina, and General Motors Firebirds. In the late 20th century and into the 21st century, there has also been a revival of interest in piston-powered aero-engined racing cars.


Preceded by
713.990 MPH, 1,149.055 Km/h
set by Andy Green, on 25 September 1997.
FIA Outright World Land Speed Record holder (1 km)
760.343 MPH,
1,223.657 Km/h
set by Andy Green, on 15 October 1997.
Succeeded by
Preceded by
714.144 MPH, 1,149.303 Km/h
set by Andy Green, on 25 September 1997.
FIA Outright World Land Speed Record holder (1 mile)
763.035 MPH,
1,227.985 Km/h
set by Andy Green, on 15 October 1997.
Succeeded by