Kiwis to take on land speed record.  Jetblack landspeed challenger unveiled to fans.

The Jetblack full-scale model is revealed in front of fans and spectators.

A Kiwi team is to challenge the World Landspeed Record for the first time and today unveiled a full-scale model of their speed-machine at The Cloud on Auckland’s Queens Wharf.


The Jetblack challenge aims to contest the record by 2016 with a team led by Kiwi entrepreneur Richard Nowland and piloted by former Royal New Zealand Airforce Wing Commander Stephen Hunt.  The duo are supported by a team of engineering and technology specialists.  The current record is 763mph and was set by Britain’s Andy Green in October 1997 at Black Rock Desert, in Nevada, USA. Green’s winning run was the first supersonic landspeed record.  Team Jetblack today revealed a 13-metre, all black, full-scale model of their vehicle as part of the REAL New Zealand showcase of innovation during Rugby World Cup 2011.

The car will sport solid, aerospace-grade aluminum wheels with no tyres, have an all-composite chassis and will be powered by a turbofan engine and two “hybrid” rockets – similar to those used for space exploration.  Auckland University of Technology is assisting with Jetblack‘s cockpit design and has built a cockpit simulator to conduct research.  Nowland said he hoped Jetblack would be a showcase of New Zealand’s engineering and innovation.

”Every single part of the car must be designed – there is almost nothing we can take off the shelf. And that poses great opportunities and challenges for our technology, engineering and manufacturing industries.” – Richard Nowland


Nowland’s speed dream was born out of a successful bid for two ex-RAF Rolls Royce Avon 206 turbojet engines in an online auction in 2007.  Back then he was aiming just to break the New Zealand and Australian Landspeed Records.  Leon Grice, director of NZ 2011, hoped that showcasing Jetblack during the World Cup would inspire future engineers.

Jetblack will literally be a promotional vehicle for New Zealand’s engineering and technology talent and capability.”  -Leon Grice

Technology and research partner, Industrial Research Limited, called Jetblack‘s record attempt a ”classic New Zealand adventure that stretches the horizons of technology developed in New Zealand on the world stage”.

Possible locations for Jetblack‘s record attempt include India, the Arabian Gulf, USA and Australia.

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