The car was driven by Royal Air Force fighter pilot Wing Commander Andy Green in the Black Rock Desert in the state of Nevada. It was powered by two afterburning Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan engines, as used in the British version of the F-4 Phantom II jet fighter. The twin engines developed a net thrust of 223 kN (50,000 lbf), giving a power output of roughly 102,000 bhp (76 MW) at the measured record speed of 341 metres per second, burning around 18 litres/second (4.0 Imperial gallons/s or 4.8 US gallons/s) of fuel. Transformed into the usual terms for car mileages based on this speed, the fuel consumption was about 4,850 l/100 km (0.06 mpg‑imp; 0.05 mpg‑US). The thermal power released by burning 18 litres/second of aviation fuel is approximately 630 MW which means the vehicle was operating at around 12% efficiency at its record speed, efficiency being the useful working power (76 MW) divided by the thermal power (630 MW).
The record run in October 1997 was preceded by extensive test runs of the vehicle in autumn 1996 and spring 1997 in the Al-Jafr desert (located in Ma’an Governorate) in Jordan, a location unknown before for its capabilities as a test range for high speed land vehicles, with numerous advantages compared to the salt deserts of the Western United States.[clarification needed]
After the record was set, the World Motor Sport Council released the following message:
- The World Motor Sport Council homologated the new world land speed records set by the team ThrustSSC of Richard Noble, driver Andy Green, on 15 October 1997 at Black Rock Desert, Nevada (USA). This is the first time in history that a land vehicle has exceeded the speed of sound. The new records are as follows:
- Flying mile 1227.985 km/h (763.035 mph)
- Flying kilometre 1223.657 km/h (760.343 mph)
- In setting the record, the sound barrier was broken in both the north and south runs.
- Paris, 11 November 1997.