Thrust power – breaking the sound barrier at Bonneville Salt Flats

Thrust-powered race cars run the Bonneville Salt Flats course

It doesn’t matter how you look at it, breaking the sound barrier on land, water, or ice is the ultimate in motorsports excitement. The only way to achieve the speed necessary to break the sound barrier, or any other land speed record in this classification, is through the use of thrust powered vehicles. Thrust powered vehicles are just that, vehicles that rely on the thrust produced by turbine, jet aircraft, and even rockets to propel them down the Bonneville Salt Flats at such high rates of speed. Thrust power is the leading edge of high speed racing be it land speed racing, water speed racing, or the ever popular ice speed racing.

Piston powered vehicles are unable to propell a vehicle down the Bonneville Salt Flats fast enough to break the sound barrier short of running at least 4 or more engines. Running multiple piston powered engines in these configurations are an engineering and tuning nightmare. Enter the thrust-powered vehicles. Thrust powered vehicles are easier to maintain, and tune, than are their multi-engine, pistoned counterparts.

One of the early adopters of thrust power for racing is Art Arfons of Cyclops and Green Monster fame. The racing standard for anything over 500 miles per hour is a thrust powered vehicle in the form of turbines, jet engines, or even rockets. There have even been some cars using a sidewinder missile engine to boost the speed of a jet engined thrust vehicle to assist it in breaking through the sound barrier while running on land.

Here is our collection of web links for thrust powered vehicles:

  1. Steve Fossett’s ex-Breedlove Streamliner —
  2. Jack Mattingly –
  3. Mark Nye Thermodynamics Gas Turbines –
  4. ThrustSSC –
  5. XCOR Aerospace –