On this day 44 years ago, a brightest page was written in the history of motorsport. The Budweiser Rocket, driven by driver Stan Barrett, exceeded the speed of sound, achieving an unprecedented result of 1,190.344 km/h.
At the end of the 70s. last century, the famous American beer manufacturer – the Budweiser company – decided to join motor sports, of course, with the aim of advertising intoxicating products. The idea was grandiose: to overcome the sound barrier on land no less.
To create the appropriate car, no expense was spared and a number of reputable companies were attracted. And so in September 1979 in the USA, a car ready for battle was delivered to the Bonneville track, famous for its record-breaking races. It was bright red, with large Budweiser lettering on the sides.
In its shape, the car resembled a fighter jet. The pointed, streamlined fuselage was elongated and narrow. The length was 12.1 m, and the diameter was only 0.5 m. At the rear it was crowned with a high aerodynamic fin.
This car was similar to a high-speed aircraft in its power plant: it was equipped with a jet engine with a thrust of 9,900 kgf.
The chassis wheels were also located on the aircraft. One smaller one was located at the very front of the car, and two were on the sides. Interestingly, they were all all-metal, without any busbars.
36-year-old stuntman Stan Barrett, who was called a man with steady hands and nerves of iron, was invited as the driver of the record-breaking car.
The first races brought some disappointment. For a breakneck speed of over 1000 km/h, the track was not smooth enough. And soon they found another, more suitable one – in the state of Southern California, on the dry Rogers Salt Lake.
For a successful performance, they decided to supplement the existing liquid-propellant jet engine with a solid-fuel accelerator – with a thrust of 2000 kgf.
The first races started on November 22, and with each new race the results achieved increased. And the decisive battle for speed took place on December 17. The car showed an outstanding result – 1190.344 km/h. This was 12.5 km/h more than the speed of sound at an air temperature during this race of minus 7C.
It must be said that according to the rules of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), record runs had to be repeated twice: first in one direction and then in the opposite direction. But Stan Barrett only drove one. Why? Was he euphoric from his success or was there another reason for this? But be that as it may, the speed of sound on land, to the delight of motorsports fans, was overcome.