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The History of Land Speed Records

A land speed record is the highest speed a person can achieve in a vehicle on land. The speed is worked out by the vehicle being driven over a fixed length and is averaged out over two runs in opposite directions. The vehicle must exceed the previous record by 1% in order to make a new record.

Women have also been involved with the land speed record. Dorothy Levitt broke the women’s world speed record in 1906 with a speed of 91mph gaining the sobriquet of "Fastest Girl on Earth". Subsequently, in 1965 Lee Breedlove broke the record with her Sonic 1 going at 308.506 mph. 

The first ever recorded land speed record was on 18th December 1898 in Achères, Yvelines, France with the electric powered Jeantaud Duc with a speed of 39.24mph.

On 26th January 1906 on Ormond Beach, USA, Fred Marriot broke the 100mph barrier with a record of 127.66mph with the Stanley Rocket.

Later, on 2nd November 1965 Craig Breedlove, husband of Lee Breedlove, broke the 500mph barrier with the Sonic 1 in USA gaining a speed record of 555.485mph. However this record was unofficial as it only had 3 wheels and was not wheel-driven.
Then, on 4th October, Brit Richard Noble gained a speed record of 634.05mph in the Black Rock Desert, USA with the Thrust 2 and its Turbojet.

Just 14 years later, on 15th October 1997, Andy Green reached the speed of 760.343mph in the Black Rock Desert, USA with the Thrust SSC and its Turbofan. He holds the current land speed record.

However, now several teams have wanted to break the speed barrier of 1000mph and one of these projects is the Bloodhound SSC. In 2012 Richard Noble claimed that the car was a representation of Thrust SSC and they didn’t have permission.
Nevertheless, the Bloodhound SSC is a British supersonic, pencil shaped vehicle with a jet engine and the intention to exceed 1000mph. The runway has been built in Hakskeen Pan in the Northern Cape, South Africa. It is 12 miles long by 2 miles wide and the record attempt is scheduled to take place in 2016. The 7.5 tonne vehicle has to be flown from Bristol to South Africa in order for the record to take place. Also following the rules, it would have to be turned over in order to make its second lap. It is estimated that it would only take the Bloodhound 55seconds to reach the speed of 1000mph. The project has also inspired many secondary schools like the Heathland School to take part in workshops with model, rocket powered cars. This hopefully gives children an insight into STEM based subjects and activities.

Now, fingers crossed that the Bloodhound SSC will achieve a 1000mph speed record!

By Aleena