Race car driver and TV personality Jessi Combs died in a high-speed crash this week while attempting to break her own land-speed record of 398 mph in a four-wheel vehicle. She was 36.
Combs was a part-time host of Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters” and hosted Autoblog’s “The List” video series, among other roles.
In a statement obtained by Autoblog, Combs’ family said she was attempting to set a new record in a jet-powered vehicle in a dry lake bed in Oregon when she crashed.
Combs had indicated on Instagram just prior to her death that she was aiming to reach a speed of 619 mph. The current women’s land-speed world record of 512 mph was set in 1976 by Kitty O’Neil in a rocket-powered three-wheeled SM1 Motivator.
“Jessi’s most notable dream was to become the fastest woman on Earth, a dream she had been chasing since 2012,” her family’s statement read. “Combs was one of the rare dreamers with the bravery to turn those possibilities into reality, and she left this earth driving faster than any other woman in history.”
Combs had been dubbed the “fastest woman on four wheels” in 2013 after competing in the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger and hitting the record speed of 398 mph. She went on to unofficially shatter that mark, topping 483 mph in subsequent followup runs, though those efforts were not considered official because of mechanical issues, Autoblog reported.
Adam Savage, former co-host of “Mythbusters” was among those expressing grief over her sudden death on social media on Wednesday.
Praising her skills as an “engineer, driver, fabricator, and science communicator,” he said in a tweet that “we are lesser for her absence.”
Valerie Thompson, who earned the title of “fastest woman on two wheels” for her speeds on motorcycles, shared on Twitter a photo of her and Combs together and said she “also had the chance to attempt this record but it wasn’t my turn.”
“This hits home for me,” she added.