Thrust 2 – Richard Noble

Richard Noble's Thrust 2 world land speed record car, on display at Coventry Transport Museum.

633.468 mph – the record-breaking speed averaged over the 2 runs of the measured mile (1227.986 km/h).

624.241 mph – the speed recorded on the outward run.

642.971 mph – the speed achieved on the return run.

Did You Know?
The Thrust team originally planned to run at Bonneville, arriving in September 1981, just over 2 years before the final record breaking attempt. However, bad weather meant the salt flats were water-logged, and weather-problems continued through the following year. A chance suggestion that they try Black Rock Desert in Nevada resulted in a relocation in early October 1982. But, whilst the conditions were dry, the highest two-way average speed the team could achieve before winter set in was 590.551 mph (a record for a British driver, but short of the existing 622 mph Land Speed Record).

9 years – the time that Richard Noble spent working on Project Thrust, from conception to the successful record attempt.

6 – the age at which Richard Noble witnessed John Cobb’s Crusader jet boat being preparing for a Water Speed Record attempt, during a family holiday near Loch Ness in Scotland in 1952, the event that sparked Noble’s dream of attaining the Land Speed Record.

1974 – the year that Noble commenced his plan to reclaim the World Land Speed Record, building the self-designed, and somewhat crude, Thrust 1.

1977 – Thrust 1 crashes during a run at RAF Fairford, due to a seized wheel bearing failure.

£175 – the money raised from the sale of the scrapped Thrust 1 car, used to buy a Rolls-Royce Avon turbojet engine, and so launch the Thrust 2 project at the 1977 Motorfair at London’s Earls Court.

1978 – the year that construction of Thrust 2 commenced, with newly-recruited designer John Ackroyd working from a derelict cottage on the Isle of Wight.

1980 – the year that Thrust 2 started breaking British speed records.

The Thrust2 story was no fairy tale. Instead, it was the product of opportunism, determination, and a relentless refusal to give up in the face of adversity. David Tremayne

6 – the number of consecutive British speed records that Thrust 2 set, using the runway at RAF Greenham Common, before heading off for the American campaign in September 1981.

Thrust 2 Videos

Richard Noble describes driving Thrust 2: