Jessi Combs died as a result of a crash attempting to set a new speed record at the Alvord Desert in Oregon in late August, but she may be eligible to posthumously hold the title for World’s Fastest Woman. At the opening of the Petersen Automotive Museum exhibition honoring her, it was announced that her times would be submitted for a Guinness World Record.
This news was reported by Autoblog, which was on the scene at the exhibition’s opening.
The current record is held by Kitty O’Neil, who averaged a speed of 512.7 mph in a three-wheeled rocket-powered vehicle called The SMI Motivator. She set her record in the Alvord desert in December of 1976. Prior to that, the record for the world’s fastest woman had barely hit 200 mph.
That record has stood ever since. No one has been able to even come close. But if the Combs submission is verified and accepted, Jessi would posthumously take the honor.
Combs completed two runs at Alvord, the first of which hit 515.346 mph while the second was 548.432 mph. That means her average speed was 531.889 mph—just under 20 mph faster than O’Neil’s time.
There’s a lot of red tape to be cleared, though. Combs must have made two full runs prior to her crash for the times to count—which she is said to have done, according to the video shared by Autoblog.
It would be great to see Jessi take the official title of World’s Fastest Woman as a way to further honor her legacy and further cement her place amongst the list of great, badass women in motorsport and record-breaking.