Warriors of the 60’s

The attempt by Donald Campbell in Australia lit a spark in a lad of twelve called Rosco McGlashan and also produced a battle royal between the Americans, Craig Breedlove and Art Arfons in the latter part of 1964 and through 1965. In that period, the record was broken seven times and raised by nearly 200 mph with the introduction of jet engine powered cars (unlimited category). The rivalry has been the subject of many documentaries and culminated in 1965 with Craig Breedlove breaking the 600 mph barrier.

Donald Campbell - Bluebird

Donald Campbell – Bluebird

Art Arfons – Green Monster

Craig Breedlove – Spirit of America (Sonic 1)

Warriors of the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s

The record did not change hands again until 1970 when USA drag racer Gary Gabelich and The Blue Flame raised it to 622 mph (1,001 km/h). In 1983, the British took the land speed record back from the Americans with Thrust 2, driven by Richard Noble, with a speed of 633 mph (1,019 km/h), and the British have held the record ever since.

Gary Gabelich – The Blue Flame

Richard Noble – Thrust 2

Andy Green – Thrust SSC

Craig Breedlove – Sonic Arrow

Rosco McGlashan and The Aussie Invader Cars

In March 1994, Rosco McGlashan broke Donald Campbell’s Australian Land Speed Record with Aussie Invader 2 at 500 mph (802.6 km/h). He then went after the World Land Speed Record and crashed Aussie Invader 2 at nearly 600 mph. So, Rosco set about building a new car, Aussie Invader 3, which was completed in 1995. Rosco and the team had planned to go after Richard Noble’s record in early 1996. However, bad weather at Lake Gairdner prevented Rosco and the Aussie Invader team from challenging for the record that year.

Aussie Invader 2 – Crashed at nearly 600 mph

Aussie invader 3 – reached a peak speed of 638 mph

In 1997, the British broke the record twice, culminating in a new record of 763 mph (1,227 km/h) and breaking the sound barrier in Thrust SSC, driven by Andy Green. This was the biggest jump in the world land speed record ever and effectively made Aussie Invader 3 redundant. Aussie Invader 3 did get one outing in 2000 at Lake Gairdner, and Rosco recorded a one-way pass of 638 mph (1,027 km/h). The next ten years were spent on designing and planning a new car. This led to many false starts, but eventually, construction started on Aussie Invader 5R in late 2008.

The Present

In the early 2010s, the race was on again! With three teams in the race to break the land speed record, two of which were looking to hopefully raise it to 1,000 mph (1,600 km/h). The three teams were the USA/Canada with North American Eagle, the current record-holders from the UK, with a new car, Bloodhound SSC and Australia’s rocket-powered challenger, Aussie Invader 5R. The Aussie Invader team is led by driver and project leader Rosco McGlashan OAM.

Aussie Invader 5R – Challenging for the record

Currently The Bloodhound project is suspended

Crashed in 2019, sadly killing driver Jessi Combs

The Brits and the Aussies were both building cars capable of reaching over 1,000 mph, where as the Americans were looking to break the existing land speed record of 763 mph, however due to a crash in late August 2019, which sadly killed driver Jessi Combs, they are no longer challenging for the record. Jessi died trying to break the women’s land speed record of Kitty O’Neil, which stood at 512 mph, which she was later awarded. RIP Jessi.

Currently the British Bloodhound team are not active due to lack of sponsorship funds. They may enter the race again, but COVID-19 completely changed the climate for raising sponsorship funds.

The Future

Breaking a 1,000 mph on land will push man and machine beyond anything that has gone before. This milestone in land speed racing history will not be achieved overnight and the record will almost certainly be increased in increments to limit the danger to the drivers as much as possible.

At these speeds the forces on the car and its components will be massive and systems and handling will need to be tested thoroughly as the boundaries of technical development, man and machine are pushed to the limits. After each attempt or series of attempts, the vehicles will need to be analysed and checked and possibly refined.

Australia and Aussie Invader 5R

The legendary Peter Brock once called Rosco McGlashan “A person who absolutely gives it a red hot go”. As the driving force behind The Aussie Invader team, McGlashan is determined to realise the dream he has spent over 50 years chasing. He sets his goals high and will not stop at being “THE FASTEST AUSSIE ON EARTH”; he now wants to be the “THE FASTEST MAN ON EARTH”.

Aussie Invader 5R – The Most Powerful Car Ever Built

Aussie Invader 5R is the most powerful of the current three challengers, with 62,000 pounds of thrust from its bi-propellant rocket engine. The total power output from the motor has been estimated at 200,000 hp, making it the most powerful land speed car ever built. The engine is being developed with existing technology, but also some pioneering development and Rosco and The Aussie Invader team are very excited to be working with several new and established rocket experts to bring this motor to life.

Aussie Invader 5R has the potential to create history and is likely to break many records as it approaches 1,000 mph. Reaching each of the incremental milestones will add to the excitement and media interest. The exposure the team will create in Australia and abroad will assist in creating global awareness of the Aussie Invader project and Rosco in trying to become The Fastest Man on Earth!

Learn about Rosco’s life and story in our new book – ROSCO The Fastest Aussie on Earth.