North American LSR car pilot Jessi CombsA couple of weeks ago, Autoblog's video series, The List: 1,001 Car Things to do Before You Die, tackled something that's been top-of-mind since the day we came up with the concept for the series: Drive The Bonneville Salt Flats. If you saw that episode, you know that not only did hosts Jessi Combs and Patrick McIntyre check it off their List, Combs was there to work on getting qualified to make a run for the title of World's Fastest Woman.
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Jessi Combs Is the Fastest Woman on Four Wheels
Her Average Speed of 392 mph Surpasses Her Record from Yesterday by 48 mph

ALVORD DESERT, Oregon (October 9, 2013) – Jessi Combs has firmly established herself as the fastest woman on four wheels. Today she surpassed the existing women's land speed record with a two-way average speed of nearly 392 miles per hour through a measured mile on the dry lakebed at the Alvord Desert in southeastern Oregon. That speed beat her own 344 mph mark from yesterday, a speed that already surpassed the previous record of 308 mph set in 1965 by Lee Breedlove, wife of former world land speed record holder Craig Breedlove.

At one point during her run, Jessi reached a top speed of 440.709 mph. "That felt so unbelievably good," exclaimed Combs when told of her new record. "I knew that one was really, really fast."

Combs made two runs today in the Eagle. The rules require that a driver make two passes across a measured course, once in each direction, with the second pass completed within 60 minutes of the first. Officials then average the two speeds. On her first run, she passed through the measured mile at 354.931 mph, exiting the mile at 2:25 pm. But she was not entirely pleased with that first pass. "The car ran great, but I kept getting pulled into the ruts from yesterday's runs," she said.

After coming to a stop at the south end of the lakebed, the team turned and serviced the Eagle so that Jessi could re-fire the jet engine to make her return run. At 3:15 pm, she re-entered the measured mile and recorded a speed of 430.978 mph, for a two-way average of 392.954 mph.

The vehicle that Combs drove, the North American Eagle (NAE) Supersonic Speed Challenger, is considered a "car" because it has at least four wheels. But it is certainly not a car you would see on any road. The Eagle is a 14,000 pound, 50,000 horsepower converted F-104 Lockheed Starfighter jet that once served as a chase plane for the X-15 and SR-71. The all-volunteer team of American and Canadian engineers and former military personnel removed the wings and added wheels to convert the F-104 into a jet-powered car that may ultimately travel at more than 800 mph.

Combs is an automotive metal fabricator and currently co-hosts All Girls Garage (Velocity by the Discovery Channel) and The List: 1001 Car Things to do Before You Die (AutoBlog). Previous television appearances include Mythbusters and Overhaulin' (Discovery Channel), Xtreme 4x4 (Spike TV), and Two Guys Garage (Speed Channel).

In 2014, team owner Ed Shadle will drive the Eagle in an attempt to break the current world land speed record of 761 mph. With the current British record holders at work on a new vehicle of their own, the NAE team is not only faced with the challenge of breaking the current record, they are also in a race with the British to be the first to set a new land speed record.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 48 Comments
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Alex Butti
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ovaries of steel!
      john m
      • 1 Year Ago
      AWESOME! Congrats to Jessi. I wish I could do something like this.
      Lee Jachter
      • 1 Year Ago
      Congratulations Jessie! I used to think you were not only beautiful and a great fabricator, but, now you are one of the most accomplished women on the planet
        Technoir
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Lee Jachter
        Lee Yep, going 440mph in a jet car instantly takes you to the top 1% of intellectuals.
          Todd Labonte
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Technoir
          and making a reply like that drops you down to the last 1%..HA! it said nothing about doing so making her a genius... smart then you tho
          hokanut
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Technoir
          Feel better now that you've attempted to tear down someone who actually took a chance chasing a dream and succeeded? Now go back to your fairy tail world and wait for your mother to call you to dinner shnookems.
      Nick Allain
      • 1 Year Ago
      Congrats. My only issue is - at what point is this a plane running on the ground and no longer a "car"?
        k_m94
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Nick Allain
        It's not a car, but something with 4 wheels that achieved its speed while firmly planted on the ground, hence the record. There's probably another class of record for cars that still look like cars, just like in drag racing you don't have Top Fuel competing against Pro Stock. Pretty much any 300+mph streamliner stretches the definition of a car, and they look more like wingless jet planes for the higher speed ones because it's a shape that we know works pretty well with that sort of aerodynamics.
      E85 450HP Forester
      • 1 Year Ago
      Is there any other motor sport more stupid than this?
        Tom
        • 1 Year Ago
        @E85 450HP Forester
        Is there anything more stupid then a 450hp Forester?
          E85 450HP Forester
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Tom
          Not sure, AWD, Stick shift, station wagon, hydraulic steering, no stability control as it is a 2007, alumnum hood, 3,000lbs curb weight, 3 feet long moon roof, 1/4 in rhe 12s, 0-60 in 4s, so no I don't think so. Then? Learn your ******* grammar.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @E85 450HP Forester
        [blocked]
      diffrunt
      • 1 Year Ago
      Don't mean squat if it ain't eng/wheel driven
        • 1 Year Ago
        @diffrunt
        [blocked]
        John Bubba
        • 1 Year Ago
        @diffrunt
        I agree that the record is a bit vague on what 'counts'. Just where should anyone draw the line on a sport that started out as a bunch of blue-collar workers having fun? Why not just install some ground effect wings to give the car a tiny bit of lift so the wheels stop holding back the records? Is it against the 'rules' to bring a fighter jet to the flats and just cruise it on it's landing gear? Or can we raise the gear after it gets up to speed for some serious record breaking? Ok, I know the fighter jet only has three wheels - I was only kidding! No way they'll let a three-wheeler compete for a four wheeled record! Does it break the rules if you build a car from scratch to ride an air-cushion like a tunnel boat? Would it break the rules if a ground effect car was only driven by one single tire at the back instead of using jet thrust, with all other tires lifted up off of the salt while at speed?
      studemax
      • 1 Year Ago
      Your hurrahs are a bit early. Most FIA attempts require FIA representatives be present for both runs. This is not Guinness, you know. Another worthless attempt if you ask me. It's also sexist. Most Bonneville records do not differentiate between the sexes.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @studemax
        [blocked]
          studemax
          • 1 Year Ago
          What I did was be EXACTLY TRUTHFUL. And you TOTALLY MISSED THE POINT. And as I posted, Bonneville salt (the real land speed record community) has had women setting records for years. In fact, 4 years ago a woman set top speed of the meet (over 300). A drivers sex has no bearing on the record there. It's a far more enlightened place, with more enlightened people than you who are still trying to put women in a box. At Bonneville, there is no box (for sexual designations). WOMEN are WELCOME, and are quite active in the land speed record community.
      Steve
      • 1 Year Ago
      Meanwhile in an empty kitchen....
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      scott3
      • 1 Year Ago
      I am glad she made the run but this car scares me. Using a plane is not the best option as they are now made to be beat along on the ground and the strength of a plane is in the wings that are no use here. This car is a low dollar effort and they have learned from their mistakes. It has burned once and fractured. I grew up around the Arfons and was lucky enough to sit with John Noble of the Thrust II, Thrust SCC and the coming Bloodhound SCC. It is amazing how and what these cars have to deal with. John was discussing the things and how close he even came to things happening that they did not for see win air pressures and forces. Their new car will take 12 tons of pressure per meter as they can not even think of a panel failure as it would be similar as he said to the space shuttle failing. I know these guys are shooting for the record and I pray for the guy who takes it to that extreme. I would love to see the record come back to this country for a little while before John puts his car out there and the Australians make a play in their car. I am surprise with so many women racers out there that someone had not made a run like this before as this number was not very high and there are a few cars that could have made it but no one put a woman in the seat. Who ever make the 700 MPH run had better get their aerodynamics figured out or they will have issues at Mach as the shock way is enough to lift the car. Good luck and please be safe.
      csrecord
      • 1 Year Ago
      Respect.
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