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Ralph DePalma in his Packard '905' Special at Daytona Beach in 1919, courtesy Florida Photographic Collection
ThrustSSC, driven by Royal Air Force pilot Andy Green, holds the current land speed record

The land speed record (or absolute land speed record) is the fastest speed achieved by any wheeled vehicle on land. There is no single body for validation and regulation; what is used in practice is the Category C ("Special Vehicles") flying start regulations, 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]. Previously, the two runs were required in opposite directions within one hour, however due to a fatal return-run accident at Bonneville Speed Week, the two runs are now conducted in the same direction, with the second run done the morning of the next day. A new record mark must exceed the previous one by one percent to be validated.[3] There are numerous other class records for cars, and motorcycles fall into another, separate, class. The current absolute record holder is the British designed ThrustSSC, a twin turbofan-powered car which achieved 763 miles per hour (1,228 km/h) for the mile (1.6 km), breaking the sound barrier.

Until 1906, the rail speed record exceeded the auto speed record. However, the current unmanned record is held by a railed vehicle and stands at Mach 8.5.[4]

Contents

History

The first regulators were the Automobile Club de France, who proclaimed themselves arbiters of the record around 1902.[5]

Different clubs had different standards and did not always recognise the same world records[6] until 1924, when Association International des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR) introduced new regulations: 2 passes averaged with a maximum 30min (later more) between runs, average gradient of the racing surface not over 1%, timing gear accurate within 0.01sec, and cars must be wheel-driven.[7] National or regional auto clubs (such as AAA and SCTA) had to be AIACR members to ensure records would be recognized.[8] The AIACR became the FIA in 1947. Controversy arose in 1963. Spirit of America failed on being a three-wheeler (leading Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme to certify the record when FIA refused) and not wheel-driven, but the general public did not care[citation needed], so FIA introduced a special wheel-driven class.[9] No holder of the absolute record since has been wheel-driven.

Women's Land speed record

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 90.88 mph (146.25 km/h) of 91 mph and receiving the soubriquet 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.[10][11][12]

Records

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1898 – 1965 (wheel driven)

[citation needed]

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 Electric 39.24 63.15
January 17, 1899 Achères, France Belgium Camille Jenatzy CGA Dogcart Electric 41.42 66.66 [citation needed]
January 17, 1899 Achères, France France Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat Jeantaud Duc Electric 43.69 70.31
January 27, 1899 Achères, France Belgium Camille Jenatzy CGA Dogcart Electric 49.93 80.35
March 4, 1899 Achères, France France Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat Jeantaud Duc Profilée Electric 57.65 92.78 [citation needed]
April 29, 1899 Achères, France Belgium Camille Jenatzy CITA No 25, La Jamais Contente Electric 65.79 105.88 First record over 100 km/h (62 mph)[citation needed]
April 13, 1902 Nice, France
Promenade des Anglais
France Leon Serpollet Gardner-Serpollet Oeuf de Pâques (Easter Egg) Steam 75.06 120.80
November 5, 1902 Ablis, France United States William K. Vanderbilt[13] Mors Z Paris-Vienne IC 76.08 122.44
November 5, 1902 Dourdan, France France Henri Fournier Mors Z Paris-Vienne IC 76.60 123.28
November 17, 1902 Dourdan, France France M. Augières Mors Z Paris-Vienne IC 77.13 124.13
July 17, 1903 Ostend, Belgium Belgium Arthur Duray Gobron Brillié Paris-Madrid IC 83.46 134.32
January 12, 1904 Lake St. Clair, USA United States Henry Ford Ford 999 Racer IC 91.37 147.05 On frozen lake
May 25, 1904 Ostend, Belgium Belgium Pierre de Caters DMG Mercedes Simplex 90 IC 97.25 156.50
July 21, 1904 Ostend, Belgium France Louis Rigolly Gobron Brillié Gordon Bennett Cup IC 103.56 166.66 First over 100 mph (160 km/h)
January 24, 1905 Daytona Beach, USA France Arthur MacDonald Napier 6 IC 104.65 168.42
January 26, 1906 Ormond Beach, USA United States Fred Marriott Stanley Rocket Racer 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.[14]
November 6, 1909 Brooklands, United Kingdom France Victor Hémery 200 hp (150 kW) Benz No 1 IC 125.94 202.68 115.93 186.57 First run using electronic timing[7]
June 24, 1914 Brooklands, United Kingdom United Kingdom L. G. Hornstead 200 hp (150 kW) Benz No 3 IC 124.09 199.70 First 2-way record, set at Brooklands under new Association International des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR) 2-way rule[7]
July 6, 1924 Arpajon, France France René Thomas Delage La Torpille IC 143.21 230.47 143.31 230.64
September 25, 1924 Pendine Sands, United Kingdom United Kingdom Malcolm Campbell Blue Bird IC 146.15 235.21 146.16 235.22
April 27 1926 Pendine Sands, United Kingdom United Kingdom J.G. Parry-Thomas Babs (ex-Higham-Thomas Special)[8] IC
26.9 liter Liberty
169.29 272.45 168.07 270.48
April 28, 1926[8] Pendine Sands, United Kingdom United Kingdom J.G. Parry-Thomas Babs IC 171.01 273.60 170.62 274.59[citation needed]
March 29, 1927 Daytona Beach, USA United Kingdom Henry Segrave Sunbeam 1000 hp IC 202.98 326.66 203.79 327.97 First over 200 mph (320 km/h)
February 19, 1928 Daytona Beach, USA United Kingdom Malcolm Campbell Blue Bird III IC 206.95 333.05
April 22, 1928 Daytona Beach, USA United States Ray Keech White Triplex Spirit of Elkdom IC
Three 26.9 liter Liberty[8]
207.55 334.02
September 3, 1935 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United Kingdom Malcolm Campbell Campbell-Railton Blue Bird IC 301.129 484.620 First over 300 mph (480 km/h)[citation needed]

1963 – present (jet and rocket propulsion)

Craig Breedlove's mark of 408.312 miles per hour (657.114 km/h), 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.[9] On July 27 1964, Donald Campbell's Bluebird CN7 posted a time 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 the 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.[15] Thus, Art Arfons' Green Monster was belatedly recognised as the absolute LSR holder, while Bluebird held the now-separate wheel-driven land speed record, and Spirit of America the tricycle record. Since then, no wheel-driven car has held the absolute record.

Date Location Driver Vehicle Power Speed over
1 km
Speed over
1 mile
Comments
mph km/h mph km/h
September 5, 1963 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United States Craig Breedlove Spirit of America Turbojet 408.312 657.114 407.447 655.722 Ratified by FIM as vehicle has 3 wheels.
October 5, 1964 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United States Tom Green Wingfoot Express Turbojet 415.093 668.027 413.199 664.979 Unratified[citation needed]
October 7, 1964 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United States Art Arfons Green Monster Turbojet 434.356 699.028 434.022 698.490 Unratified[citation needed]
October 13, 1964 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United States Craig Breedlove Spirit of America Turbojet 468.719 754.330 Unratified[citation needed]
October 15, 1964 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United States Craig Breedlove Spirit of America Turbojet 526.277 846.861 Unratified[citation needed]
October 27, 1964 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United States Art Arfons Green Monster Turbojet 544.134 875.699 536.710 863.791 First FIA-ratified jetcar Land Speed Record[citation needed]
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
November 7, 1965 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United States Art Arfons Green Monster Turbojet 572.546 921.423 576.553 927.872
November 15, 1965 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United States Craig Breedlove Spirit of America - Sonic 1 Turbojet 600.842 966.961 600.601 966.574
October 23, 1970 Bonneville Salt Flats, USA United States Gary Gabelich Blue Flame Rocket 630.389 1014.52 622.407 1001.67 First record over 1,000 km/h (621 mph)[citation needed]
October 4, 1983 Black Rock Desert, USA United Kingdom Richard Noble Thrust2 Turbojet 634.051 1020.406 633.47 1019.47 [16]
September 25, 1997 Black Rock Desert, USA United Kingdom Andy Green ThrustSSC Turbofan 713.990 1149.055 714.144 1149.303 [17]
October 15, 1997 Black Rock Desert, USA United Kingdom Andy Green ThrustSSC Turbofan 760.343 1223.657 763.035 1227.986 First supersonic record

See also

References

  1. ^ "FIA land speed records". FIA. http://www.fia.com/en-GB/sport/records/Pages/Introduction.aspx. 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. http://www.fia.com/sport/Regulations/Common/sporting_code/chapter07.html. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  4. ^ "Test sets world land speed record". www.af.mil. http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?storyID=123004755. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  5. ^ Northey, Tom (1974). "Land Speed Record: The Fastest Men on Earth". in Tom Northey. World of Automobiles. Vol. 10. London: Orbis. p. 1162. 
  6. ^ 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. pp. 39. ISBN 0786412356. 
  7. ^ a b c Northey, p.1163.
  8. ^ a b c d Northey, p.1164.
  9. ^ a b Northey, p.1166.
  10. ^ Hull, Peter G. "Napier: The Stradivarius of the Road", in Northey, Tom, ed. The World of Automobiles (London: Orbis, 1974), Volume 13, p.1483.
  11. ^ Georgano, G.N. Cars: Early and Vintage, 1886-1930. (London: Grange-Universal, 1985).
  12. ^ Women in Motorsport - Timeline
  13. ^ "Land Speed Record". speedrecordclub.com. http://www.speedrecordclub.com/outland.php. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  14. ^ [1] - The British Steam Car Challenge
  15. ^ "from our motoring correspondent" (December 12, 1964). "Land Speed Record Agreement". The Times (Issue 56193): p. 7, col E. 
  16. ^ "FIA land speed records, Cat C". FIA. http://argent.fia.com/web/fia-public.nsf/7D4955E7190F1A25C12572FB00559369/$FILE/Records_List_Cat-C.pdf. Retrieved 2009-07-12. 
  17. ^ "FIA land speed records, Cat C". FIA. http://argent.fia.com/web/fia-public.nsf/7D4955E7190F1A25C12572FB00559369/$FILE/Records_List_Cat-C.pdf. Retrieved 2009-07-12. 

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