The internal combustion engine is without doubt the most important device of the first half of the 20th century. Despite so, many ambitious engineers have attempted to do better in attempts to revolutionise the racing car. Whilst Chrysler had refined the gas turbine engine 5 years prior for road use, it wasn’t until Howmet developed and raced its unconventional TX that the idea of the turbine engine for racing was cemented.
To this day the only gas turbine powered car to win a race, the Howmet TX competed in the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans during the 1968 season, retiring in all three races due to mechanical failure. Despite the TX’s lack of reliability, it managed two wins in the SCCA Championship, the first races to be won by a turbine car. Developing around 350 horsepower from its turbine engine, Howmet were well aware of the experimental power plants temperament, abandoning the 1969 season, instead focusing the TX on land speed records for gas turbine cars, breaking several in its day.