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The Contenders: Aussie Invader 5r


  • Length: 52ft
  • Weight: 9.2 Tonnes
  • Expected Speed: 1000mph
  • Horsepower: 200k
  • Driver: Rosco McGlashan
  • Propulsion: Liquid Oxygen/Bio Kerosene Rocket

The World Land Speed Record has never been held by a nation in the Southern Hemisphere, but this time round there is not one but two teams from down under hoping to get their hands of the greatest prize in racing. Australian drag racing supremo Rosco McGlashan already holds the Australian Land Speed record at 500mph – set in 1994 – and has made a number of attempts on the world record in the years since.

This year, McGlashan and his team are building a new car, the Aussie Invader 5R. His biggest and most powerful car yet, similar in design to Gary Gabelich’s Blueflame, the Aussie Invader 5R will measure 18 metres long and three metres tall at the tailfin, weighing some seven tonnes. After seeing X-Prize winner SpaceShipOne, McGlashan, “The fastest Aussie on Earth,” wondered if rocket motors could propel him up to speeds of 1,200 mph. So he called up SpaceDev, the company who provided the rocket motor technology for the world’s first private-sector astronaut mission. He also enlisted the help of John “Ackers” Ackroyd, the designer of 1983’s land-speed-record-breaking car Thrust 2. They came up a wingless jet fighter on wheels powered by four rocket thrusters. The AI5R has been designed to reach 1000mph in just 20 seconds.

In February 1995 Rosco and his team headed back to Lake Gairdner for an assault at the 633.468 mph world land speed record, held by Richard Noble. This attempt was not a success, due to poor salt conditions, the course being very wet in places. McGlashan ran off course and hit the metal timing equipment at 600mph. McGlashan walked away but the car was destroyed. McGlashan then built his next car Aussie Invader III. With this car McGlashan hoped to challenge Andy Green and Craig Breedlove to be the first to Mach 1 on land. But again the salt conditions were too bad for high speed record runs. McGlashan hopes to take AI5R to 1000mph at some point next year, however the location is yet to be determined. After a number of problems due to salt conditions on previous attempts. This is an ongoing search, the team have several sites under review and several people helping them to  try and locate a dry flat mud lake about 25km long and several kilometres wide.


About Jack Noble

A little insight into the thoughts and views of a 21 year old studying history at the University of Sheffield.

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