Land speed (fastest car)
Thrust SSC, Andy Green
1227.985 kilometre(s) per hour
United States (Black Rock Desert)

The official land-speed record (measured over one mile) is 1,227.985 km/h (763.035 mi/h; Mach 1.020), set by Andy Green (UK) on 15 October 1997 in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA, in Thrust SSC.

The car is powered by two Rolls-Royce Spey 202 jet engines which generate 222 kN (50,000 lb) of thrust.

Green, a retired British Royal Air Force fighter pilot, is the only person ever to break the sound barrier on land.

Although Thrust SSC is the first car to break the sound barrier, it is alleged that Budweiser Rocket Car, driven by Stan Barrett (US), reached a speed of 1,190.377 km/h (739.666 mi/h) at Edwards Air Force Base, California, USA, on 17 December 1979. However, the published speed of Mach 1.0106 was not officially sanctioned by the USAF, as the Digital Instrument Radar was not calibrated or certified. The radar information was not generated using the vehicle directly but by an operator aiming a dish using a TV screen.

Speaking about his land-speed record, Green, who was appointed an OBE in 1998, told us: “The outright world land speed record is so iconic because it’s the simplest, oldest, purest form of motorsport.

“The easiest thing to understand is simply driving a car faster than anyone in history.

“When I was at university studying mathematics and learning to fly aeroplanes, I was watching Richard Noble attempting and then breaking the world land-speed record in Thrust 2.”

The battle to be the fastest driver in the world goes back much further though.

Click here to read all about the race for the land-speed record between rivals Craig Breedlove and Art Arfons back in the 1960s.

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