U.S. woman ready to take a crack at world land-speed recordFri, 08 Jul 2011 00:00:00 -0700
We talk power numbers at AutoWeek all day long. Three hundred horsepower used to be a lot, then 400, then 500. Now we expect our supercars to exceed even that. But when attempting a land-speed record, three digits just won't do.
In October, Leslie Porterfield will attempt to break the world land-speed record for women drivers in a 50,000-hp F-104 Starfighter jet plane, converted to roll on big tires. She's already in the Guinness World Records as the fastest woman on two wheels at 232 mph.
“I couldn't be more excited to be a part of such a dynamic team,” said Porterfield. “I am honored to be part of their mission to go after the absolute unlimited land-speed record. This is an opportunity of a lifetime!”
Porterfield and the North American Eagle need to go faster than an average of 512 mph, in two passes, going in two different directions, which is the agreed-upon standard for land-speed records. If that's successful, she'll make a run at the overall world record next year.
What the North American Eagle team doesn't have is a sponsor. It hopes that the October run will drum up some interest.
“Excitement about the record has kind of dropped off, since the Brits have held it since 1983,” said Douglas Schwartz, NAE media director. “And it's hard to do without sponsorship.”
The current land-speed record is held by Andy Green of Great Britain, who broke the record in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada in 1997. Green used a turbofan-powered Thrust SSC to hit 763 mph. Americans haven't held the record since 1983.
Currently, both the Brits and the Aussies are working on land-speed record cars, according to Schwartz, meaning it could all culminate in the next few years.
By Jake Lingeman