Aussie rocketman eyes world speed record

FORERUNNER: Rosco McGlashan's Aussie Invader 3 which hit 1034 kmh in 1996.
FORERUNNER: Rosco McGlashan's Aussie Invader 3 which hit 1034 kmh in 1996.

Australian Rosco McGlashan has set himself the target of doing 1 and a half times the speed of sound - in a car.

McGlashan wants to set a world land speed record by hitting more than 1600 kmh in a rocket-powered car called Aussie Invader 5R.

McGlashan's team has already begun work in Perth on the seven-tonne car in which he will make the attempt, officially announced at the Sydney motor show yesterday.

The team says the rocket is capable of producing 62,000 pounds of thrust and will attempt to get that power to the ground via four solid aluminium wheels, each weighing 100 kilograms.

But the Australian team is racing against time as well, because the present record holder, Andy Green, is also well on the way to his own attempt at hitting 1600kmh.

"We've got the best people in the world working to get us to the start line and then across the finish line first," McGlashan said.

"It's a fierce but friendly competition between our British rivals, Bloodhound, but we're well progressed with our build and will be firing up our rocket next year."

Green and his team, Bloodhound SSC (Super Sonic Car), have begun testing their rocket.

The Brits set the record of 1227 kmh in 1997 at Black Rock Desert in the US. In 1996 McGlashan unofficially broke the record in Aussie Invader 3, hitting 1034 kmh on South Australia's Lake Gairdner. However, a record run must be set in two directions within an hour, and the second run was ruined by weather.

Despite the past two records being set at the Black Rock Desert, McGlashan's team is scouting around the world for a suitable location, including Birdsville in Queensland and the Kimberly region in Western Australia.