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The fastest car on the planet: Part two

2 years ago

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Andrew English | Journalist


18 July 2022

Brooklands, scene of some of the bravest speed records and home of companies such as Thomson & Taylor, which built many of those aero-engined behemoths, recently hosted a debate on the future of speed record breaking.

It was well attended, with speakers from McMurtry whose tiny Spéirling battery-electric fan-car prototype set a new hillclimb record at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed; McLaren Automotive; Malcolm Campbell’s nephew and UK electric and steam speed record holder Don Wales; plus Andy Green, starry world Land Speed Record holder for the last 26 years.

Green was flush with the thrill of just having had a driving lesson in John Cobb’s mighty 580bhp/1250lb ft, 24-litre, W12-engined Napier Railton, perpetual holder of the Brooklands lap record of 143.4mph and consumer of gallons of metal polish. Having driven it myself in the past, I can attest to the fizzing jolt it gives you in the aftermath, although that might be something to do with the burnt hydrocarbon bath it gives you.

As Wales wryly observed: ‘Electric vehicle records at under 250mph are probably more relevant to ordinary motorists, but the Land Speed Record, the really top speeds, are the preserve of the glamorous people, and Andy [Green] promotes it so well.’

Even the knowledgeable crowd gasped as Green took to the stand with all the demeanour of Lord Flashheart from Blackadder

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