History of the World Land Speed Record
The challenge of becoming the fastest man on Earth has certainly inspired a select band of very brave men
throughout the years. Many who succeeded in their quest were rewarded with fame, wealth and national honours. Many of
those who failed were subjected to the most public and horrifying of deaths. As these courageous men strapped
themselves into their formidable machines, they knew that they could never be in complete control of their destiny,
that their next journey could be their last. And yet they were there because they wanted to be - and they kept coming
back for more. Few people can understand the obsession that gripped these men, but this obsession created the
ultimate form of motor racing - the quest for the Land Speed Record.
- The Electric Era of the Land Speed Record covers a brief inaugural period from
1898 to 1899, when two European drivers with electric cars battle for the record on a stretch of French public
- Eventually, Steam and Pistons Prevail as other European drivers nudge
the record over 100 mph. Several American celebrities also make their mark in the record book.
- Three British drivers set new records Down by the Seaside between 1924 and
1927. Two of them go on to dominate the record in America, the other becomes the first fatality in Land Speed
- Speed Demons at Daytona push the record up over 200 mph, watched by
thousands of spectators. Americas determination to compete with the British imports ends in further tragedy.
- Brits at Bonneville tighten their grip on the record at the famous Salt
Flats, surpassing 300 mph and pushing on towards 400 mph in the late 1930s.
- American hot-rodders use jet power with devastating effect in the 1960s - The Jet
Car Joust sees the record soar to an incredible 600 mph, with quite a few scares along the way!
- Rockets Rule in the 1970s as American rocket-powered cars set the trend.
- The Brits Hit Back in the 1980s with their first jet-powered contender,
after years of American domination.
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