Automotive News Coverage Amazing Land Speed Records

Amazing Automotive News & Land Speed Records

"The fastest car on the planet in 1898 broke the land-speed record with a blistering 39.24 miles per hour."

While it never leaves the park, Kingda Ka roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park in Jackson, New Jersey, is recognized as the world's fastes­t roller coaster.

Opened in 2005, the Kingda Ka is a hydraulic launch rocket coaster that reaches its top speed of 128 miles per hour in just 3.5 seconds. Its 456-foot-tall tower is also the world's tallest for a coaster.

The fastest roller coaster can reach a top speed of nearly 130 miles per hour.

When it comes to speed, most people don't even think about it until a police officer asks if they know how fast they were going. But world speed records are kept for just about everything that goes. Here are some records for the world's fastest vehicles on land and sea.

Breaking the Sound Barrier

The land speed record was set on October 15, 1997, by Andy Green, a British fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force. On Black Rock Desert, a dry lake bed in northwestern Nevada, Green's TurboSSC jet-propelled car reached a speed of 763.035 miles per hour, making him the first driver to reach supersonic speed (761 mph) and break the sound barrier.

The Two Wheeled Terror

The f­astest person on two wheels is motorcycle racer Chris Carr. On September 5, 2006, at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah -- the site of many land speed records -- Carr broke the motorcycle land speed record with an average speed of 350.8 miles per hour over two passes on a fixed-length course in two opposite-direction runs.

Wickedly Fast On The Water

The world's fastest speedboat was actually built in the backyard of the man who set the record. On October 8, 1978, at Blowering Dam, Australia, motorboat racer Ken Warby captained Spirit of Australia to a world-record average speed of 318.75 miles per hour, breaking his own record of 290.313 miles per hour set the previous year.

Sailing Sailing O'er The Bounding Main

The fastest sailing vessel, and the smallest, is the sailboard, a surfboard with a sail attached. Windsurfing world champion Finian Maynard of Ireland holds the world sailing speed record of 48.7 knots (about 56 miles per hour), set on a 500-meter course near Saintes Maries de la Mer, France, in April 2005. Maynard broke his own record of 46.82 knots (53.9 miles per hour), set on November 13, 2004.

The Triumphant Trains

In the category of trains with wheels, the French TGV, a high-speed train, is the fastest in the world. On April 3, 2007, under test conditions, the high-speed train consisting of two engine cars and three double-decker passenger cars set the record of 357.2 miles per hour.

In the category of magnetic levitation trains -- where the cars float above a guidance track using powerful electric magnets -- the Japanese JR-Maglev three-car train set a record of 361 miles per hour on December 2, 2003.

But, without people on board -- and with rockets attached -- railed vehicles can go much faster. On April 30, 2003, an unmanned four-stage rocket sled (a small railroad car with rockets strapped to it) reached a speed of 6,416 miles per hour at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.

Blazing Fast Bicycle

Bicycles require human power to move forward, but that doesn't mean they can't move fast. The record for the fastest speed achieved on a regular (upright) bicycle belongs to Fred Rompelberg, who in 1995, reached a speed of 166.944 miles per hour while being paced by a motor vehicle, which substantially reduced his wind resistance.

Screaming Steamers

Probably the longest-running speed record belongs to a steam-powered vehicle, the Stanley Steamer. Between 1902 and 1927, these steam-powered automobiles were produced for the public by the Stanley twins -- Francis and Freelan -- through their Stanley Motor Carriage Company.

In 1906, a Stanley Rocket driven by Fred Marriott set the world land speed record for all automobiles, reaching 127.7 miles per hour at the Daytona Beach Road Course in Florida. While the land speed record has been broken by cars with internal combustion or jet-powered engines, the Stanley Steamer still owns the record for steam-powered cars.

Diabolical Diesel

The word diesel used to conjure up images of smelly buses and slow-moving trucks, but that picture changed on August 23, 2006, when the JCB DIESELMAX diesel-powered car driven by Andy Green averaged 350 miles per hour over two runs at the Bonneville Salt Flats. On the first run, he hit 365.779 miles per hour.

WTH - Land Speed Record Set On A Lawn Mower?

Most­ kids hate mowing the lawn, but that might change if their parents bought them this riding mower. On July 4, 2006, at the Bonneville Salt Flats, Bob Cleveland drove his specially-built lawn mower at an average speed of just over 80 miles per hour. All facts provided by Tim Larsen/Associated Press and the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.. "13 Land and Water Speed Records" 16 September 2007. 27 August 2014.