Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Can Jetblack break the land speed record?

Jetblack, the turbojet propelled 'car' under development by Kiwi businessman Richard Nowland.
Jetblack, the turbojet propelled 'car' under development by Kiwi businessman Richard Nowland.

Young Kiwi businessman Richard Nowland has set his sights on breaking the world land speed record in Jetblack, the turbojet propelled "car" he has had under development since 2008.

Nowland is keeping the latest details of his project firmly under wraps until a "show car" is unveiled at the Cloud on Queens Wharf on October 17.

In front of an invited audience, which will include some of the project's key backers, Nowland will reveal the specific speed targets he wants to achieve and the names of key engineering designers and team members who are working with him to achieve his dream.

Visitors down at the waterfront for the Rugby World Cup will also be able to take a good look at Jetblack.

In the past Nowland has expressed a desire to knock off the Australasian land speed records - but as the project has progressed his ambition has grown.

Nowland's Jetblack "show car" will join other examples of Kiwi ingenuity - like Glenn Martin's one-person Jetpack flight machine, the Yike Bike and the Sealegs amphibious marine craft - which are on display in The Cloud.

His ambition was inspired by watching television footage of Thrust SSC, the supersonic car that was the first land vehicle to officially break the sound barrier.

Nowland did not have the cash to buy an engine with enough grunt to power Jetblack, so in 2007 he put in an auction bid for ex-RAF engines and ended up with two of them.

He makes clear the project is not just about designing, building and racing a very fast car.

Nowland wants it to create a springboard for new enterprises and promote NZ science, engineering and technology on the world stage.

- NZ Herald

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