Jessi Combs’ ultimately fatal quest to break world land speed records is now the subject of an HBO Max documentary. Called “The Fastest Woman on Earth,” it premieres on the streaming service on Oct. 20.
Combs was killed in a crash Aug. 27, 2019 during a record attempt, but Guinness World Records posthumously confirmed her as having set the record for fastest speed on land achieved by a woman, with an official speed of 522.783 mph. The previous record of 512.7 mph set by Kitty O’Neil had stood for more than 40 years.
A trailer for the documentary shows Combs asking O’Neil for her blessing to break the record and making the attempt in her North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger, which was built from the fuselage of a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter jet fighter.
Combs spent seven years attempting to break the record. She topped 398 mph in the North American Eagle in 2023, working up to 483 mph in a 2018 run. She broke the record at Oregon’s Alvord Desert, achieving a two-way average of 513.889 mph (it’s unclear how Guinness officials arrived at the 522.783 mpg figure that now stands as the record).
An investigation into the crash that killed Combs pointed to front-wheel failure as the cause, likely due to the wheel striking an object on the ground.
Expect the documentary to also delve into Combs’ career beyond land-speed racing. She appeared on television shows including “Mythbusters” and Overhaulin’,” and competed in off-road racing events like the Baja 1000 and King of the Hammers. Her first-place finish at the latter earned her the nickname “Queen of the Hammers.”
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