The current land speed record, set by the British-designed Thrust SSC in 1997, is 763.035mph (1227.986 km/h).
At least two teams have set their sights on breaking the 1000mph (1609.344 km/h) barrier in the coming years, including the Thrust’s successor, the Bloodhound SSC, and a home-grown effort called the Aussie Invader 5R.
But 1000mph isn’t a big enough challenge for one Californian man who believes his rocket car should be able to reach 2000mph (3218.688 km/h). The ambitious top speed is almost 2000km/h faster than the current land speed record, and means the car would be covering almost 900 metres every second.
Waldo Stakes has dedicated the past nine years of his life to the Sonic Wind Land Speed Research Vehicle project, which he says should give birth to “the premier land speed car and the most powerful car ever seen on the planet”.
“Nothing being built in Australia or Great Britain or planned by any nation will be able to touch this car in its velocity,” Stakes told Popular Mechanics. “And its stability will be second to none.”
Stakes says the Sonic Wind will be powered by a recycled XLR99 rocket engine, which was originally designed in the 1950s to propel NASA’s experimental X-15 plane, which set the flight speed record of 4520mph (7274 km/h) in 1967 – a record that still stands today.
He says a combination of liquid oxygen and methanol fuel could allow the rocket engine to produce up to 61,000 pounds of thrust.
Despite not having a computer in his office, Stakes is confident the Sonic Wind will remain hold together at the extreme speeds. “The idea is to use all the forces acting on the car to keep it stable during runs. The Sonic Wind's body changes plane slightly in the nose area. This anchors shock waves over the front wheels to increase the negative lift. These shock waves, along with the shocks that will radiate downward from the rear bi-wedge tail fins, will also be used in roll control.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Stakes hasn’t found a driver for the record-breaking run yet.
What do you think? Is he dreaming, or is the Sonic Wind a chance? Let us know in the comments section below.