Breaking Land Speed Records With An RC Car

Building and running a land speed record car is an expensive business that requires incredibly wealthy benefactors. Doing it on a smaller scale with a radio control car is still pricy, but more within the reach of the individual. [ProjectAir] has been working on just that, and recently set out to break records with a car of his own design.

The car runs a Jetcat 220 engine capable of delivering 220 newtons of thrust, built into a custom aluminium chassis with streamlined bodywork. Early runs saw it reach 112 km/h, but the goal was to push it beyond 150 km/h to break the standing Guinness World Record.

With an RC event running on a local runway, [ProjectAir] had the venue and opportunity to make an attempt. It was tough going, with the car throwing off its nosecose in one run, while rough weather brought further struggles. Strong crosswinds played a role in a violent crash on the car’s fastest pass, which ripped the car apart and destroyed the engine. However, in the end, it had done enough to secure a record at over 152 km/h, even if its later faster efforts didn’t officially count.

It’s clear that the car has come a long way since [ProjectAir’s] initial efforts in 2022, and we can’t wait to see where the project goes next. Video after the break.

23 thoughts on “Breaking Land Speed Records With An RC Car

    1. Going thru air is easier than on land, and even easier than over water.

      It looks easy, but as soon as you get fast, things go sideways (sometimes literally). Friction, balance of the wheels, side winds, imperfections on the road… there are countless things that could throw a car out of a straight line if going over 100km/h. They are small, light, and those forces are a significant percent of the thrust, so they can change the trajectory by a large amount.

      If the rules are “some part of the car must finish” it would be easy: shot the car with a cannon and grab the record. But the rules states that the car must finish intact, and that’s the hard part.

    2. I’ve tried that. It’s not as easy as you think. The way model rocket engines deliver thrust it is extremely hard to control. The initial hit throws it off course every time. I even tried it using a guide wire. The only way would be to develop an engine with a throttle or use sequentially fired smaller engines which is difficult also. The total event duration is only a few seconds. Distance is limited by sight line.

      1. Don’t say to yourself ‘the only way’, that immediately ends your effort and ends development. I’m sure there are other ways and I’m sure that if you think (and later try) hard enough you’d find several other ways.

      2. To throw out some off-the-cuff thoughts: projectiles go straight when they have rotation by rifling the barrel right? So how about some tube/weight thing on the car that rotates before start? Maybe that will reduce that initial instability. What you need as I understand you to say is to somehow force an initial somewhat powerful preference to going straight, and preferably some way to keep that prefernce, and I just think there must be something that can be thought up.

    1. I think the record he was going for is “fastest jet-powered RC car.” I don’t find it particularly inspiring that the record is slower than the overall RC car record, but differentiating between classes is always a dicey proposition, and the car itself is sick.

      Like, what if the ThrustSSC is brought out of retirement (or Bloodhound LSR ever actually happens) and run in an RC configuration? That would smoke any RC car record. And what even is a car? What if an RC plane has tight altitude control and a little pogo wheel just touching the ground to make it a “car?”

      1. Even an RC plane with a wheel and motor isn’t the fastest! The fastest RC planes have no motor check out slope gliders, it’s insane how fast they go and how they even see them.
        On video you see the plane for like 3 frames they just keep going around the peak of a slope.

        1. Dynamic soaring is what you are talking about. I think HaD even had an article about how the designs are evolving into trans-sonic territory and actually pushing the bleeding edge of research for small scale aircraft

      2. Yeah something is definitely up with that speed. Quick google is more like 208mph (334 kph) for the rc car record.
        Also RC jet aircraft absolutely scream. Not sure what body governs the rules, classes and so on but I’d guess an RC jet airplane could just do a takeoff roll, not rotate, and call itself a “car” and beat 150 pretty easily.

      3. Jet engines don’t scale down very well. By the time you’re down to R/C size, the efficiency is likely in the single digit % so you don’t get much (if any) weight saving carrying the fuel as opposed to batteries which have the advantage of motors that are easily better than 80% efficiency.

  1. Wow, won’t believe the incredible speed of slope gliders! I almost Forgot RC planes these gliders are in a league of their own. They zoom through the skies so fast that they’re barely visible. It’s a mind-blowing sight, watching them gracefully navigate the slopes with such unparalleled speed and precision. The thrill and amazement of witnessing these slope gliders in action are simply unmatched!

  2. I’m surprised that the remote control still works at such speeds.
    Because, I remember from my childhood that listening to FM radio was difficult when we drove on the autobahn.
    The doppler effect started to show its thing, there was interruption in the music and so on. I had an analog pocket radio at the time. Oh, the memories!

  3. @Lewin Day said: “Doing it on a smaller scale with a radio control car is still pricy, but more within the reach of the individual.”

    “…more within the reach of the individual.” Well it’s still pretty pricy, unless maybe the individual is Elon Musk with some time to kill:

    * P220-RXi USD $3,975.00

    * That’s $80.37 per lbf or $18.07 per N

    220 Newtons x 0.2248089431 pounds-force / Newton= 49.457967482 pounds-force

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