Edwards Air Force Base, California – A British-built steam car has successfully broken a land speed record that stood for more than 100 years, achieving an average speed of 139.843 mph (225 km/h) on two runs over a measured mile.
Driver Charles Burnett III piloted the car for both runs, breaking the speed record for a steam-powered car. He reached a peak speed of 136.103 mph (219 km/h) on the first run, and 151.085 mph (243.1 km/h) on the second.
The new international record, which is subject to official confirmation by the governing body FIA, breaks the previous official FIA record of 127 mph (204.3 km/h) set in 1906, when American driver Fred Marriott piloted a Stanley Steamer at Daytona Beach, Florida.
The British team, which had to overcome numerous challenges including intense desert heat, ran 12 times the distance and twice the maximum speed the car had achieved during testing in Britain.
Weighing three tons, the 25-foot (7.6-metre) British Steam Car is made from a mixture of carbon fibre composite and aluminum, wrapped around a steel space frame chassis. It is fitted with 12 boilers containing over three kilometres of tubing. Steam is superheated to 400 degrees C and then injected into the turbines at more than twice the speed of sound.