Jessi Combs, 'fastest woman on four wheels,' dies in crash at age 36 trying to break her own land-speed record
The crash happened at the same place where Combs had set the four-wheeled women’s land speed record back in 2013 at a speed of nearly 393 mph
'The fastest women on four wheels' Jessi Combs, a well-known race car driver and host of automotive TV shows like Autoblog's 'The List' video series, died at the age of 36 on Tuesday, August 27, after she crashed in the Alvord Desert in Oregon while trying to break her own personal best and set a new land speed world record.
In a statement following her death, Combs' family said that they were overwhelmed with "extreme grief, and in celebration of her life."
"Jessi was known for her bright smile, positivity, and tenacious pursuit of the fulfillment of her dreams. Her drive was infectious, and she served as a role model for young Girls, and Women around the world. People that loved her and followed her became family, all bonded together by adventure and passion. Her fans adored her, and she lived to inspire them. Jessi’s most notable dream was to become the fastest woman on Earth, a dream she had been chasing since 2012. 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," the statement said, Autoblog reported.
The Harney County Sheriff’s Office said that they received a call around 4 pm of a car crash just southeast of Steens Mountain. Combs died instantly, although her cause of death is still under investigation, the Blast reported.
The crash site was the same place that Combs had set the four-wheeled women’s land speed record back in 2013 at a speed of nearly 393 mph driving the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger. It is a vehicle powered by a 52,000 horsepower engine, which was customized from the body of an F-104 jet.
Although no other woman racer had come close to breaking her record in the years that followed, Combs was never satisfied and always finding ways to beat her own feats.
"I will try everything at least twice," she's quoted as saying in her official biography. "I wouldn’t want to be jaded by the first attempt."
She did manage to hit speeds of over 483 mph in subsequent followup runs last year but the speeds did not make the official record due to mechanical issues. Combs said in an Instagram post that she was aiming for 619 mph in the jet-powered vehicle.
Combs received a degree in Custom Automotive Fabrication from WyoTech in Wyoming. After that, she raced the Baja 1000, finishing second in the Class 10 division. In 2014, she earned a spec class win and the distinction of becoming the first woman ever to place at any Ultra4 event.
From 2011 to 2017, she served as co-host of 'The List,' a show which won an Online Film & Video Webby award in 2014 in the Travel and Adventure category. In addition, she also hosted 'Overhaulin,' 'Extreme 4x4' and 'All Girls Garage,' a part-time host of 'Mythbusters,' and appeared on 'Jay Leno's Garage.'