Washington, Aug 29 (IANS) US race car driver Jessi Combs, dubbed the “fastest woman on four wheels” after she set a record with a jet-powered car, has died in a crash while attempting to set a new land speed record, officials said.
Combs, also a TV personality, died on Tuesday in Alvord Desert in southeast Oregon, the Harney County Sheriff’s Office said. She was 39.
Her family confirmed that she had died in a crash in a jet-powered car, but further details were not released. In a statement, the family said they remembered her “bright smile (and) positivity”, the BBC reported.
She earned the “fastest woman on four wheels” title in 2013 at the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger, when she set a record of 398 mph (641km/h).
In October, Combs set a new top speed of 483.2 mph in a shakedown run. On Tuesday, she was attempting to go faster when she crashed. She was trying to beat the absolute women’s land speed record of 512 mph (824km/h) – set by Kitty O’Neil in 1976.
“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.
Her teammate Terry Madden also paid tribute to her on social media. “Unfortunately we lost her in a horrific accident, I was the first one there and trust me we did everything humanly possible to save her,” he said in an Instagram post.
Combs appeared on several TV shows like “Overhaulin”, “All Girls Garage” and “Mythbusters”. She also served for a time as co-host of the series “Xtreme 4×4”, where she showed off her skills building and modifying cars for off-road racing.
She was also one of the creators of “Real Deal” — a programme to teach engineering skills to women.
“It may seem a little crazy to walk directly into the line of fire… those who are willing, are those who achieve great things. People say I’m crazy. I say thank you,” Combs wrote on Instagram this week.