A new woman’s land speed record was set this week.


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A new woman’s land speed record was set this week.

Back in 1965, Lee Breedlove set the women’s land speed record on Utah’s Salt Lake Flats with an average speed of 308.51 mph (496.49 km/h) over four runs. That record stood for 48 years until this month, when Jessi Combs smashed it in her 52,000 hp North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger with a speed of 392.954 mph (632.39 km/h).

I am puzzled why the gender matters in driving these high speed vehicles.

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8 comments

  • joe

    Gender does not matter in these pursuits, actually just one more glass ceiling along the way, just like the daredevil aviatrix’s in aerobatic flying past and present, there will be a small percentage of women who will aspire to motor sports endeavours.

  • And yet, the woman’s record is far lower than the man’s. Why?

  • Benjamin Dover

    I suspect it’s because parallel parking is a prerequisite.

  • Edward

    My first guess is that there are fewer women in the field, so the chances that a record is held by a woman is lower. There may be other factors; perhaps fewer women get the same experience operating the high-performance hardware than men do.

    It seems to me that the hardware would even the playing field in terms of strength required, so other factors would have to be in play here. Historically, fewer women than men get into the engineering type of fields, and maybe there is a lower desire to break records or otherwise be competitive. If there are fewer women trying to be faster, stronger, better then fewer of them are likely to break records. How long is it between broken men’s land-speed records? My unresearched guess is that it is less than 48 years, and that they break the previous record by less than a 30% increase in speed.

  • Pzatchok

    The number of women in the field is the only reason.

    There is no physical difference nor mental.

    Its just that with 1000 men and only 15 women the men tend to gather the most sponsors to fund their vehicles and runs.

    Women just need the time and volume to equal the men.

  • Joe

    Robert, not sure of the question, my guess is the caliber of equipment offered to these individule women is not the same as offered to the established(read as experience level) men in this sport, in my estimation women are just as competitive as men. Possibly there is discrimination, but I think not, just look up Shirley Muldowney, the fastest lady in drag racing if I remember correct.

  • joe

    remember this is in a straight line going down a course on the ground, more interesting is the speed of a space shuttle launch at something like 18000 miles per hour terminal speed reached to get to orbit, Sally Ride will be remembered!

  • Steve C

    Lee Breedlove is of course the wife of Craig Breedlove. The same summer that she ran 308.51 mph, her husband used the same car to go 600 mph. She hadn’t planned or prepared to make a run, Craig talked her into it. The current land speed record is 760 mph from a specially engineered car. Jessi Combs did 392 mph using an f-104 Starfighter taxiing really fast. What few women are interested in Speed racing are not given the support the men are and the support they do get is because they are women. They need to convince the sponsors they can go after the overall record.

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