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
Looking past the search results: Google 2.0 will 'build airports and cities' says report
Jennifer Lawrence nude pictures leaked: Reddit removes 'The Fappening' board dedicated to sharing naked pictures of celebrities
Anti-depressants can change how the brain works in just hours
iPhone 'Wave': iOS 8 hoax claims you can charge your iPhone in the microwave - you can't
The 'Angelina Jolie effect': Her mastectomy revelation doubled NHS breast cancer testing referrals
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...