Supersonic Race Status - Wednesday 9th July 2003
The first ever supersonic World Land Speed Record of 763.035mph was set on 15th October 1997 by Andy Green in Thrust SSC, on the Black Rock Desert, Nevada. The speed of sound was exceeded on land by Andy Green and ThrustSSC for the first time in history on 13th October 1997.
Thrust SSC at speed on Jafr Desert, Jordan
ThrustSSC (SuperSonic Car) is a British designed and built jet-propelled car developed by Richard Noble, Glynne Bowsher, Ron Ayers and Jerry Bliss, which holds the world land speed record, set on October 15, 1997, when it achieved a speed of 1,228 km/h (763 mph) and became the first land vehicle to officially break the sound barrier, not considering the earlier but unproven claim of the Budweiser Rocket.
The car was driven by Wing Commander Andy Green in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada USA. It was powered by two afterburning Rolls-Royce Spey engines as used in British F-4 Phantom II jet fighters. It is 16.5 m (54 ft) long, 3.7 m (12 ft) wide and weighs 10.5 tons. The twin engines developed a thrust of 223 kN (50000 lb) and burned around 4 Imperial gallons per second (18.2 l/s or 4.8 US gallons/s). Transformed into the usual terms for car mileages based on its maximum speed, the fuel consumption was about 5,500 l / 100 km or 0.04 mpg.
After the record was set, the World Motor Sport Council released the following message:
In 1983 Richard Noble had broken the world land speed record with his earlier car Thrust2, which reached a speed of 1,018 km/h (633 mph). Both ThrustSSC and Thrust2 are displayed at the Coventry Transport Museum in Coventry, England.
Currently a US project is working on the North American Eagle, which has been designed to break the ThrustSSC's world record.
The ThrustSSC team have returned to the UK having achieved their objective. The Spirit of America team have left the Black Rock Desert with the weather closing in. ThrustSSC has reached a highest speed through the measured mile to date of 766mph with runs completed. Spirit of America has reached 636mph with runs planned to continue in the future.
Spirit of America reached a peak speed of 675mph on the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, before crashing during October 1996's record attempt.
Thrust SSC is the most powerful, most extraordinary car ever to be designed to attack the Land Speed Record, and as the SSC (Super Sonic Car) in the name indicates, it is also one of the first with genuine potential to breach the Sound Barrier.
Cutaway drawing of Thrust SSC
Where Thrust 2 used a 17,000 pound thrust Rolls-Royce Avon 302 engine from a Lightning fighter, Thrust SSC is the first car to use two turbojets. These will initially be Rolls-Royce Spey 202s from the Phantom fighter, each producing 20,000 pounds of thrust. Richard Noble has acquired two of them, but also has two even more powerful 205 units (25,000lb of thrust) for use when ThrustSSC has proved itself in transonic testing. Thrust SSC thus has the power of 1000 Ford Escorts, or 145 Formula One cars...
It weighs 10 tonnes, and performance estimates confirm it will accelerate from standstill to 100mph (161kph) in four seconds or 0-600mph (1000kph) in 16 seconds. Within five miles (8 km) it will then reach its maximum speed of 850 mph within half a minute.
Richard Noble Autobiography
Andy Green dismounting Thrust SSC
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