Land speed record

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For the album by the band Hüsker Dü, see Land Speed Record (album).
ThrustSSC, driven by Royal Air Force pilot Andy Green, holds the land speed record.

The land speed record (or absolute land speed record) is the highest speed achieved by a wheeled 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.[1] The record 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] There are numerous other class records for cars; motorcycles fall into a separate class.

History[edit]

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

Different clubs had different standards and did not always recognise 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 failed on being a three-wheeler (leading the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme to certify the record when the FIA refused) and not wheel-driven so the FIA introduced a special wheel-driven class.[8] No holder of the absolute record since has been wheel-driven.

Women's land speed record[edit]

Dorothy Levitt, in a 26hp Napier, at Brooklands, England, in 1908

In 1906 Dorothy Levitt broke the women's world speed record for the flying kilometer, recording a speed of 91 mph (146.25 km/h) and receiving the sobriquet the "Fastest Girl on Earth". She drove a six-cylinder Napier motorcar, a 100 hp (74.6 kW) development of the K5, in a speed trial in Blackpool.[9][10][11] The subsequent record was held by Lee Breedlove, the wife of Craig Breedlove, who piloted her husband's Spirit of America - Sonic 1 to a record of 308.506 mph (496.492 km/h) in 1965, making her the fastest woman alive, as of 1974.[12] 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.[13]

The current women's land speed record is held by Kitty O'Neil, a stuntwoman who in 1976 drove a jet-powered vehicle named the SMI Motivator[14] to reach an average two-way speed of 512.710 mph (825.127 km/h) at the Alvord Desert. Through her career as a stuntwoman, she met Bill Fredrick, the stunt technology maker and high-speed car designer who built the "Motivator" vehicle. A $20,000 contract afforded O'Neil the chance to drive the car in an attempt to break only the women's land speed record; Kitty O'Neil was contractually obligated not to attempt to break the broader land speed record, so that movie director and fellow stuntperson Hal Needham could make the attempt instead.[15][16]

Records[edit]

1898–1965 (wheel-driven)[edit]

Date Location Driver Vehicle Power Speed over
1 km
Speed over
1 mile
Comments
mph km/h mph km/h
December 18, 1898 Achères, Yvelines, France France Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat Jeantaud Duc[17] Electric 39.24 63.15
December 18, 1898 Achères, Yvelines, France France Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat Jeantaud Duc Electric 57.65 92.78 First specialist land speed record vehicle, first 60 mph pass[4]
January 17, 1899 Achères, Yvelines, France Belgium Camille Jenatzy[17] La Jamais Contente Electric 65.792 105.882 First man to break a land speed record [17]
April 13, 1902 Nice, France
Promenade des Anglais
France Léon Serpollet Gardner-Serpollet
Œuf de Pâques (Easter Egg)
Steam[4] 75.06 120.80
Aug 5, 1902 Albis-St. Arnoult, France United States William K. Vanderbilt Mors Internal combustion 76.08 122.438 First IC-powered record[4]
January 12, 1904 Lake St. Clair, USA United States Henry Ford Ford 999 Racer Internal combustion:
18.9 L (1,150 cu in) inline-4 Ford engine
91.37 147.05 On frozen lake[18] (Not recognized by L'Automobile Club de France)
January 26, 1906 Ormond Beach, USA United States Fred Marriott Stanley Rocket[6] Steam 127.66 205.44 First record over 200 km/h (124 mph). First speed greater than contemporary rail speed record.
Remained the record for steam powered vehicles until 25 August 2009.[19]
November 6, 1909 Brooklands, United Kingdom France Victor Hémery Benz No 1
200 hp (150 kW)
Internal combustion:
21.5 L (1,310 cu in) inline-4 Benz engine
125.94 202.68 115.93 186.57 First run using electronic timing[6]
June 24, 1914 Brooklands, United Kingdom United Kingdom Lydston Hornsted Benz No 3
200 hp (150 kW)
Internal combustion:
21.5 L (1,310 cu in) inline-4 Benz engine
124.09 199.70 First 2-way record, set at Brooklands under new Association International des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR) 2-way rule[6]
July 12, 1924 France United Kingdom Ernest Eldridge FIAT Mephistopheles Internal combustion:
21.7 L (1,320 cu in) inline-6 FIAT A.12 aero engine
145.89 234.98 Fastest LSR ever on a public road[6]
September 25, 1924 Pendine, United Kingdom United Kingdom Malcolm Campbell Sunbeam 350HP Internal combustion:
18.3 L (1,120 cu in) V12 Sunbeam aero engine
146.16 235.22 First landspeed record by Malcolm Campbell[20]
July 21, 1925 Pendine, United Kingdom United Kingdom Malcolm Campbell Sunbeam 350HP Internal combustion:
18.3 L (1,120 cu in) V12 Sunbeam aero engine
150.87 242.8 First person to travel over 150 mph[20]
April 28, 1926 Pendine, United Kingdom United Kingdom Parry Thomas Babs Internal combustion:
27 L (1,600 cu in) V12 Liberty L-12 aero engine
170 273.6
February 4, 1927 Pendine, United Kingdom United Kingdom Malcolm Campbell Blue Bird Internal combustion:
22.3 L (1,360 cu in) W12 Napier Lion aero engine
174.88 281.44 [20]
March 29, 1927 Daytona Beach, USA United Kingdom Henry Segrave Mystery
(aka "Sunbeam 1000 hp")
Internal combustion:
2 x 22.4 L (1,370 cu in) V12 Sunbeam Matabele aero engines
203.79 327.97 The first car to reach a speed over 200 mph (320 km/h)[21]
February 19, 1928 Daytona Beach, USA United Kingdom Malcolm Campbell Blue Bird Internal combustion:
23.9 L (1,460 cu in) W12 Napier Lion aero engine
206.956 333.048 [7]
April 22, 1928 Daytona Beach, USA United States Ray Keech Triplex Special Internal combustion:
3 x 27 L (1,600 cu in) V12 Liberty L-12 aero engines
207.552 334.007 [22]
March 11, 1929 Daytona Beach, USA United Kingdom Henry Segrave Golden Arrow Internal combustion:
23.9 L (1,460 cu in) W12 Napier Lion aero engine
231.446 372.459 Segrave was knighted for this effort[23]
February 5, 1931 Verneuk Pan, South Africa United Kingdom Malcolm Campbell Blue Bird Internal combustion:
23.9 L (1,460 cu in) W12 Napier Lion supercharged aero engine
246.09 396.025 First 250 mph (400 km/h) pass. Campbell was knighted for this effort[23]
February 24, 1932 Daytona Beach, USA United Kingdom Malcolm Campbell Blue Bird Internal combustion:
23.9 L (1,460 cu in) W12 Napier Lion supercharged aero engine
253.97 408.73 [20]
February 22, 1933 Daytona Beach, USA United Kingdom Malcolm Campbell Blue Bird Internal combustion:
36.7 L (2,240 cu in) V12 Rolls-Royce supercharged aero engine
272.46 438.48 [20]
March 7, 1935 Daytona Beach, USA United Kingdom Malcolm Campbell Blue Bird Internal combustion:
36.7 L (2,240 cu in) V12 Rolls-Royce supercharged aero engine
276.816 445.472 [23]
September 3, 1935 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United Kingdom Malcolm Campbell Blue Bird Internal combustion:
36.7 L (2,240 cu in) V12 Rolls-Royce supercharged aero engine
301.129 484.598 First 300 mph (480 km/h) pass, first absolute record set at Bonneville[23]
November 19, 1937 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United Kingdom George Eyston Thunderbolt Internal combustion:
2 x 36.7 L (2,240 cu in) V12 Rolls-Royce supercharged aero engines
311.42 501.16 [23]
August 27, 1938 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United Kingdom George Eyston Thunderbolt Internal combustion:
2 x 36.7 L (2,240 cu in) V12 Rolls-Royce supercharged aero engines
345.49[23] 556.012
15 September 1938 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United Kingdom John Cobb Railton Internal combustion:
2 x 23.9 L (1,460 cu in) W12 Napier Lion supercharged aero engines
350.2 563.566 [23]
September 16, 1938 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United Kingdom George Eyston Thunderbolt Internal combustion:
2 x 36.7 L (2,240 cu in) V12 Rolls-Royce supercharged aero engines
357.5 575.314 [23]
August 23, 1939 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United Kingdom John Cobb Railton Special Internal combustion:
2 x 23.9 L (1,460 cu in) W12 Napier Lion supercharged aero engines
369.74[23] 595.04 367.91
September 16, 1947 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United Kingdom John Cobb Railton Mobil Special Internal combustion:
2 x 23.9 L (1,460 cu in) W12 Napier Lion supercharged aero engines
394.196[6] 634.397 394.19 634.39
July 17, 1964 Lake Eyre, Australia United Kingdom Donald Campbell Bluebird CN7 turboshaft 403.10[8] 644.96

1963–present (jet and rocket propulsion)[edit]

Craig Breedlove's mark of 407.447 miles per hour (655.722 km/h),[8][24] 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 27, 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. In October, several four-wheel jet-cars surpassed the 1963 mark, but were eligible for neither FIA nor FIM ratification. 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.[25] Thus, Art Arfons' Green Monster was belatedly recognized as the absolute LSR holder, Bluebird the holder of the wheel-driven land speed record, and Spirit of America the tricycle record holder. No wheel-driven car has since held the absolute record.

Date Location Driver Vehicle Power Speed over
1 km
Speed over
1 mile
Comments
mph km/h mph km/h
August 5, 1963 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United States Craig Breedlove Spirit of America Turbojet 407.447[8][24] Ratified by FIM as vehicle has 3 wheels.
October 2, 1964 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United States Tom Green Wingfoot Express Turbojet 413.2[8]
October 5, 1964 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United States Art Arfons Green Monster Turbojet 434.03[8]
November 2, 1965 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United States Craig Breedlove Spirit of America - Sonic 1 Turbojet 555.485 893.966 555.485 893.966[26]
November 15, 1965 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United States Craig Breedlove Spirit of America - Sonic 1 Turbojet 594 955.950 600.601 -[27]
October 23, 1970 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United States Gary Gabelich Blue Flame Rocket 630.478 1014.656 622.407 1001.667 [28]
October 4, 1983 Black Rock Desert, USA United Kingdom Richard Noble Thrust2 Turbojet 634.051 1020.406 633.47 1019.47 [28]
September 25, 1997 Black Rock Desert, USA United Kingdom Andy Green ThrustSSC Turbofan 713.990 1149.055 714.144 1149.303 [28]
October 15, 1997 Black Rock Desert, USA United Kingdom Andy Green ThrustSSC Turbofan 760.343 1223.657 763.035 1227.986[29]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FIA land speed records". FIA. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  2. ^ Regulations for Record Attempts - CHAPTER 2 - FIA
  3. ^ "§105. Conditions for the recognition of international or world records". Sporting Code: Chapter 7: Records. FIA. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  4. ^ a b c d Northey, Tom (1974). "Land Speed Record: The Fastest Men on Earth". In Ian Ward. World of Automobiles. Vol. 10. London: Orbis. p. 1162. 
  5. ^ Martin, James A.; Thomas F. Saal (2004). "Ch 17: Land Speed Record to 1939". American Auto Racing: The Milestones and Personalities of a Century of Speed. McFarland. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-7864-1235-8. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Northey, p.1163.
  7. ^ a b Northey, p.1164.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Northey, p.1166.
  9. ^ Hull, Peter G. "Napier: The Stradivarius of the Road", in Northey, Tom, ed. The World of Automobiles (London: Orbis, 1974), Volume 13, p.1483.
  10. ^ G.N. Georgano Cars: Early and Vintage, 1886–1930. (London: Grange-Universal, 1985).
  11. ^ "Women in Motorsport - Timeline". Btinternet.com. Archived from the original on 2012-07-24. Retrieved 2010-10-17. [dead link]
  12. ^ Twite, Mike. (1974), Breedlove: Towards the sound barrier, World of Automobiles, Orbis Publishing 2: 231 
  13. ^ "Knowingly Navigating the Unknown", Maria Russo, The New York Times, May 7, 2013
  14. ^ Ellen Jares, Sue. "The Renaissance Woman of Danger—That's Tiny Kitty O'Neil". People. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  15. ^ Phinizy, Coles. "A Rocket Ride To Glory And Gloom". SI Vault. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  16. ^ "Deaf stuntwoman Kitty O'Neil sets women's land-speed record". History. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c Northey, p.1161.
  18. ^ Cars Against the Clock, The World Land Speed Record, Robert B. Jackson (New York, Henry Z. Walck, Inc.), p.19, ISBN 0-8098-2078-1
  19. ^ [1] - The British Steam Car Challenge
  20. ^ a b c d e Scott A. G. M. Crawford, "Campbell, Sir Malcolm (1885–1948)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2011 accessed 20 April 2013
  21. ^ Holthusen, Peter J.R. (1986). The Land Speed Record ISBN 0-85429-499-6
  22. ^ Northey, Tom (1974). "Land Speed Record: The Fastest Men on Earth". In Tom Northey. World of Automobiles. Vol. 10 (London: Orbis), pp.1164-5.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i Northey, p.1165.
  24. ^ a b Twite, Mike. "Craig Breedlove: Toward the Sound Barrier", in World of Automobiles (Volume 2, p.231).
  25. ^ "from our motoring correspondent" (December 12, 1964). "Land Speed Record Agreement". The Times (Issue 56193). p. 7, col E. 
  26. ^ Cars Against the Clock, The Fastest Men on Earth, Clifton, Paul, New York, The John Day Company, page 238, L.C. 66-15097
  27. ^ Spirit of America, Breedlove, Craig, Chicago, Illinois, Henry Regnery Company, pages 183-184, L.C. 71-143833
  28. ^ a b c "FIA land speed records, Cat C". FIA. Retrieved 2009-07-12. 
  29. ^ http://fia.com/en-GB/sport/records/Pages/Introduction.aspx FIA, retrieved 17 January 2011

External links[edit]