The ThrustSSC Team arrived on the Black Rock Desert in good shape and quickly set up camp. Spirit of America - the competing team - were already on site and set up. The race to the sound barrier had begun!
Spirit of America took an early lead with their car ready to run first, but ThrustSSC quickly overtook before hitting repeated problems with the onboard computer systems - meanwhile the Americans were forced to return to base and change their engine after ingesting a foreign object and destroying the installed J-79 turbojet.
ThrustSSC continued regardless, and on 25th September 1997 achieved a milestone, setting a new World Land Speed Record of 714.144mph. The Americans would never recover, and languished at speeds of around 340mph as they tried to resolve problems with their replacement engine.
The British carried on, increasing their speeds whenever the worsening weather permitted, until on 13th October Andy Green became the first man ever to achieve an officially timed supersonic run through a measured mile. The turnround was 49.6 seconds over the hour, though, and ThrustSSC did not set a new record. It was one day short of fifty years since Chuck Yeager went supersonic in the air for the first time.
Two days later the ThrustSSC Team were back into action, and this time they attained their objective - reaching Mach 1.020 to set a two-way average of 763.035mph. An historic World First had been achieved!
For more information please read:
The Daily Status Pages from the Black Rock Campaign are still available:
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