Jessie Combs - an automotive heroine and a fearless racecar driver - died in an accident while trying to break her speed record

In an attempt to set a new women’s land speed record piloting the 56-feet long North American Eagle jet car, racing driver Jessi Combs, previously known for co-hosting Xtreme 4x4 show and Mythbusters, has died in a crash in Oregon. Known as the "fastest woman on four wheels," Jessi Combs lost control over the North American Eagle jet car due to mechanical failure. Combs died Tuesday in Alvord Desert, southeast Oregon, at the age of 39.

"Jessi Combs was pronounced deceased at the scene," the Harney County Sheriff’s Office statement said. "The cause of the crash is unknown at this time and is currently being investigated."

Jessi Combs Became The Fastest Woman On Four Wheels In 2013, Driving at 398.954 mph

A race car driver known for her dedication for women empowerment in the automotive industry.

She claimed the women's four-wheel land speed record back in 2013, when she drove the North American Eagle at 398.954 mph (632 km/h).

"Jessi’s most notable dream was to become the fastest woman on Earth, a dream she had been chasing since 2012... and she left this Earth driving faster than any other woman in history," her family said.

Numerous notable personas from the automotive industry and former colleagues paid respects to Combs on social media. Former host of the Mythbusters, Adam Savage wrote on Twitter:

"I’m so so sad, Jessi Combs has been killed in a crash. She was a brilliant and top-notch builder, engineer, driver, fabricator, and science communicator, and strove everyday to encourage others by her prodigious example. She was also a colleague, and we are lesser for her absence."

While the circumstances around the accident are still investigated, her boyfriend Terry Madden did say he did everything he could to save her.

"Unfortunately we lost her yesterday in a horrific accident, I was the first one there and trust me we did everything humanly possible to save her," Madden continued.

"I’m not OK, but she is right here keeping my going. I made her a promise that if this didn’t go well that I would make sure and do good with it, please help me with that, you are all going to see things on news please believe non of them... we, the family, have drafted a release and it will come out today with more proper info, but I was just woke up by the media tracking me down and I need everyone of her true friends to do what she would want ’take a deep breath, relax’ and do good things with this."

ABC News reports that Madden confirmed that the documentary would come out down the road detailing what happened.

The North American Eagle Car That Jessi Combs Drove

Jessie Combs - The Fastest Woman on Four Wheels - Dies in Land Speed Record Attempt
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Based around the fuselage of the Mach 2-capable fighter-jet F-104 Starfighter, the North American Eagle is a car only in a loose sense. It does have wheels and controls somewhat similar to what you can find in a car, but all the similarities end there. With 56 feet of length and 7 tons of weight, the North American Eagle features an S&S Turbines GE J-79-11B engine with a 4-line afterburner. In car terms, it generates over 45,500 horsepower in full afterburner mode.

This powerhouse can consume 160 gallons of fuel per minute. To keep it on the ground, engineers used aluminum wheels and special, non-friction, neodymium-iron-boron magnet brakes that generate 3,500 horsepower of braking force. This is the vehicle that the North American Eagle team eventually wanted to use to break a land speed record that Thrust SSC set back in 1997 when it drove at 760 mph.

On Tuesday, when the accident took place, Jessi Combs was attempting to break the Women's Land Speed Record of 512 mph, set in 1976 by Kitty O'Neil.

Notable Land Speed Records

Thrust SSC 760.343 mph
Date: 15 Oct 1997
Driver: Andy Green (GBR)
Thrust2 634.051 mph
Date: 4 Oct 1983
Driver: Richard Noble (GBR)
The Blue Flame 630.478 mph
Date: 23 Oct 1970
Driver: Gary Gabelich (USA)
The Spirit of America – Sonic 1 555.485 mph
Date: 2 Nov 1965
Driver: Craig Breedlove (USA)
The Green Monster 434.03 mph
Date: 5 Oct 1964
Driver: Art Arfons (USA)
The Spirit of America 407.447 mph
Date: 5 Aug 1963
Driver: Craig Breedlove (USA)
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