Trailing a huge plume of dust across the desert floor, a British jet-powered car blasted through the sound barrier twice on Wednesday, shattering the world land speed record.
“It’s been a magic morning,” said a beaming Richard Noble. “It’s a hell of an achievement.”
Noble’s jet-powered Thrust SSC took advantage of cool, clear weather for back-to-back runs that pushed the land speed record above Mach 1, the speed of sound. The feat came 50 years and a day after pilot Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier in an experimental rocket-powered plane.
Noble’s car, with Royal Air Force pilot Andy Green at the controls, went 759.333 mph on its first run and 766.609 mph on the second. The record, an average of the two, was 763.035.
The speed of sound, which varies according to weather and altitude, was calculated Wednesday morning at 748.111 mph. The average of the two runs was provisionally set at Mach 1.02.
The mark broke the old record, set by Green just three weeks ago, by 34 mph.
The two runs had to be made within an hour of each other for the record to be official. Green made his second dash with about five minutes to spare.
The sleek, black car broke the sound barrier twice on Monday but missed the record books because a problem with a drag parachute delayed the team, and it took 61 minutes to start the second run.