Last night, along with a few other hacks, I was at a Jaguar Land Rover dinner, and very enjoyable it was, too.
For most of the evening we talked back and forth about JLR’s successes and its even more stellar prospects.
Then, just before the meeting was due to end, a familiar-looking tall bloke arose from the fringes of the meeting and started talking about driving at 1000mph across a South African desert in 2016.
It was, of course, Andy Green, the 52-year-old RAF officer and former fast jet pilot, world-famous for his exploits in various land speed record cars, the most important of which, Thrust SSC, he drove at 763.035mph in September 1997, breaking the sound barrier on land for the first time, 50 years and one day after the equally legendary American pilot Chuck Yeager did it in an aircraft.
Green is about to start doing it all again – only faster – in the Bristol-built Bloodhound, starting with 200mph shakedown runs at Newquay Airport next year, then 500-800mph shakedown runs on a specially prepared 12-mile track at Hakskeen Pan, near the Namibian border in South Africa.
I’ve interviewed Green a few times, and also heard him talk in public, but nothing prepares you for his passion, his eloquence, his technical grasp and his all-round brilliance.