800 Mph Jet Car Needs Just One Thing More: A Pilot

Think you've got what it takes to out-do Wing Commander Andy Green and the 763 mph land speed World-record set by Thrust SSC? Well, the team at North American Eagle may have a spot behind the controls for you: they've launched an open contest for the driver of their vehicle. The crazy red car looks a shade like an F-104 Starfighter, you say? Well, that's because it actually is one. With wheels. For going along the ground, faster than the speed of sound.

The North American Eagle is a joint Canadian-American attempt at reclaiming the world land speed record, and it really is built from a salvaged F-104. Co-owner Ed Shadle spotted the 1957-vintage aircraft in a scrapyard in 1998 and bought it for $25,000, and it's taken ten years of work to turn it into a record-worthy road vehicle with a predicted top speed of 835 mph. That's a mile in 4.3 seconds apparently, but that kind of performance doesn't come cheap: each test run sets the team back $18,000 in parts and fuel since the gas-guzzling engine gulps 160 gallons per minute. Hence the search for a "good looking" driver who'll be able to pull in sponsors, says Ed.

Still, it turns out the original plane was once flown by Chuck Yeager himself, which must bode well for the upcoming record-breaking attempts, don't you think? The competition for the pilot/driver is real, and it's open to global contenders: all you have to do is send in a photo and a 400-word email outlining your credentials. The chance to rocket along the ground faster than your own sound waves is one heck of a prize. [The Times Online]