Race Car Driver Jessi Combs Posthumously Named Fastest Woman On Earth

by : Julia Banim on : 25 Jun 2020 14:40
Race Car Driver Jessi Combs Posthumously Named Fastest Woman On EarthGetty

Race car driver Jessi Combs is now officially the fastest woman on Earth, having been posthumously awarded the fastest land speed record by a female driver by Guinness World Records.

Combs died while attempting to break the land-speed record, crashing a jet-powered car in south-east Oregon’s Alvord Desert on August 27, 2019. She was 39 years old.


Combs managed to clock up a record-breaking speed of 841.338kph (522.783mph) in a jet-powered car, becoming the very first person to break the record in over 40 years. She died the same day that she beat the record.

The previous record holder was stunt driver Kitty O’Neil, who reached 510.710mph at the exact same spot in 1976.

Combs’ partner, Terry Madden, took to Instagram to express his feelings of pride and sadness, writing:


I really don’t know how I feel about this at all as no record could ever be worth her not being here, but it was a goal that she really wanted – and as hard as it is for me to even look at the car without crying. I’m so proud of her.

She woke up that morning to an alarm saying ‘lets make history’ and we had an absolutely amazing day.

According to Terry, Jessi had reservations about safety issues on the day she broke the record. She had broken her previous top speeds the day before the world record, but decided she wanted one more attempt.

He continued:

On the morning run she broke her previous top speeds and we went back to the trailer and had a long heart to heart – she had a few things that were bothering us safety wise and I told her I would support her no matter what she decided to do.

That afternoon we booked a house in Lake Tahoe for the next night, and she decided she was going to run that one last afternoon run to back up her record and then walk away from it for good and let her back up driver go for the overall world record instead of her. That was to be the last time she ever got in that car.


According to Madden, the crash happened because of ‘a mechanical failure of the front wheel’, with Combs having done ‘everything perfect’.

In life, Combs was often dubbed ‘the fastest woman on four wheels’, and was well-known for her daring spirit and technical expertise in the world of motoring. A legend in her own lifetime, Combs underwent training in fabrication and hot-rod building at WyoTech, before breaking into the world of television presenting.

Onscreen, Combs shared her knowledge on shows such as Xtreme 4×4, Overhaulin’, Truck U, and All Girls Garage.


Aside from her television work, Combs competed in various hair-raising competitions. Combs was the very first ‘Queen’ of the Hammers, and a Baja 1000 podium finisher, as Road and Track reports.

She also became the first ever female racer to compete in The Race of Gentlemen, driving a twin-engine 1913 Ford Model T.

In 2013, Combs joined the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger team, with the hopes of piloting a car (constructed from a decommissioned fighter jet) to speeds that would break O’Neil’s previously held record of 512mph.


A true one-of-a-kind in her field, Combs’ determination and passion for race cars still continues to inspire and motivate after her death.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Sport, Guinness World Records, Now, Oregon, Race, record


Guinness World Records and 2 others
  1. Guinness World Records

    Fastest land speed record (female)

  2. Terry Madden/Instagram


  3. Road and Track

    Jessi Combs Killed in Land-Speed Record Crash