The Timeline: Land speed records
Monday 14 February 2011
1898: Smashing the 40mph mark
Frenchman Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat sets the world land speed record at a track at Achères in France.
His electric car, made by stagecoach-maker Jeantaud, completes a 1km circuit of the track in 57 seconds. After three laps and the end of the car's battery, the Frenchman's average speed is announced: the fastest man in the world had reached a heady 40mph.
1927: Technical innovation
Things get technical in the 1920s when Sir Malcolm Campbell teams up with jet engine manufacturers Napier to build a special car for his attempt at breaking the record. The Napier-Campbell Blue Bird car uses a 500bhp Lion aero engine and smashes the previous record, reaching a speed of 195mph at Pendine Sands in Wales. Campbell immediately professes his disappointment at not having reached 200mph but gets there a year later in the USA.
1947: Faster and faster
Aeronautical technology finds its way into racing cars. Driving his jet-propelled Railton Mobil Special, Englishman John R Cobb reaches just under 400mph at Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah. Cobb attempted the same feat on water, but lost his life when his Crusader boat flipped after hitting choppy waters on Loch Ness.
1960s: Brothers in speed
The title of "Fastest Man on Earth" goes back and forth between two men. Art Arfons and Craig Breedlove battle it out to be the king of speed in a series of runs on the Utah Salt Flats. A good-natured rivalry builds and the record is pushed from just over 400mph to 526mph, which Arfons attains in his Green Monster car.
1997: Feeling supersonic
Although supersonic aircraft had been around since the early 1950s, it took a further 40 years for a car to break the sound barrier. In the summer of 1997, former RAF pilot Andy Green drove his Thrust SSC right through the sound barrier, reaching Mach 1.02 (763mph). Green was garlanded with the highest honours in the racing world, including the Segrave Automobile Club Trophy and Cobb Cup from British Racing Drivers' Club. His record still stands.
2011: The Bloodhound
The Bloodhound SSC car goes into production in the US. The car, from the same team behind Thrust, is designed to be the most aerodynamic land vehicle ever built, with jet engines capable of reaching up to 1,000 miles per hour. It's hoped to be ready for testing by 2012.
Life & Style blogs
What is ALS and the Ice Bucket Challenge?
London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
NHS patients to be seen by 'doctors on the cheap'
Anal sex study reveals climate of 'coercion'
Wearable chair allows workers to sit anywhere - and could save millions in healthcare bills
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
£550 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Traded Credit Risk - Investmen...
£32000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based o...
£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...
£600 per day: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL, MSMQ, SQL, GIT, SQ...