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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 reported thrust of 223 kN (approximately 50,000 pounds force) at some operating condition. If achieving full reported thrust while operating at the record speed, it works out to around 102,000 brake horsepower, calculated as force times velocity. Jet engines are not designed to operate at peak airspeed while still in ground effect; a proper estimate would need to take this into account.


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).[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation 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     1,227.985 km/h (763.035 mph)
  • Flying kilometre 1,223.657 km/h (760.345 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] [ self-published source ][ non-primary source needed ][ dead link ]


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. [5]

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. [6]

Several teams are competing to break the record, including the Bloodhound LSR project, launched in 2008, [7] and the North American Eagle Project, launched in 2004. [8]

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 LSR 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 LSR. [9]

See also


  1. ThrustSSC team, archived from the original on 27 April 2018
  2. "Thrust SSC takes to the road" . Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  3. The ThrustSSC Story [ dead link ]
  4. Thrust SSC Run database [ self-published source ][ non-primary source needed ][ dead link ]
  5. Gill, Kathy. "First supersonic flight in rocket-powered research plane". WiredPen. Retrieved 15 October 2022.
  6. Coventry Transport Museum – Landspeed Gallery
  7. Noble, Green and Team Target 1,000mph Record. Bloodhound Ssc (23 October 2008).
  8. Nash, Jim. "Rocket Man: Land-Speed Racer Pushes 1,000 MpH Barrier". Scientific American. Scientific American. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  9. BBC News – Orange, Intel, and a fast car furore. BBC. (27 June 2012).

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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