The road travelled to obtain the title ‘world’s fastest car’ is often paved with death and disaster but if the journey is completed successfully it is also a destination heralded with fame and glory. Traversing this road carefully is the key to achieving glory without disaster and the team behind Bloodhound SSC know this only too well.
Having taken the world record with their twin jet powered Thrust SSC, and having competed against other famous teams to capture the record they have seen their fair share of disaster along the way. So they tread carefully, testing and refining as they progressively increase speed towards their stated 1,000mph goal, a 33% increase in speed from the current world record and the largest single jump ever recorded. Can they reach their mark? Will the technology hold up? Can the pilot see over the steering wheel?
The target set for Bloodhound SSC is no easy feat, running a vehicle at 1,000mph / 1,609 kph along a not quite flat surface, the ground, presents immense technical problems, and dangers for the pilot. The technology itself is incredibly complex with over 3,500 specifrically designed parts. Even the drive-train is complex with an electric motor starting a Jaguar V8 that in turn runs the compressors / pumps that feed fuel to the rocket engines which only kick in once the vehicle is running at over 300mph. Aerodynamics have been simulated in virtual fluid-dymics simulators. Controls have been refined and perfected through years of simulation. Even the wheels themselves need to be specially designed and tested to withstand the forces exerted as they spin at over 10,000rpm.
To esnure that all of this complexity is with high speed safety in mind the team behind the Bloodhound SSC Project is le by the high-speed luminaries Richard Noble, Chris Fairhead and Martyn Davidson. Noble is joined by fellow Thrust SSC team mate Andy Green who will once again pilot the land bound supersonic car. Both men and many more of the Bloodhound team were part of the Thrust SSC project that currently holds the world record, the twin jet turbine Thrust SSC achieved its record top speed of 1,228 kmh / 763 mph on October 15, 1997.
A considerable civil and military engineering team have been assembled to ensure the Bloodhound SSC can take the record while still being as safe as is possible while hurtling along the ground at a thousand miles an hour. This incredibly complex vehicle combines rocket technology that has taken man to the moon, jet engine technology used to fly us around the globe and internal combustion engine technology as is found under the bonnet of today’s hypercars. All working together in harmony to accelerate this sleek vehicle to inhuman speeds, but then it also has to stop safely, turn around and do it all again within an hour. This is the nature of the world record run, you can’t just fluke it with a high speed run in one direction. The FIA World Land Speed record and boffins from Guinness all require that the record run be repeated, the official record will be the average speed of the two runs.
In the build up to the record attempt October 2017 saw the Bloodhound SSC Team take the streamlined beast out for a highspeed test (200mph) in Newquay Cornwell, England, a major milestone on the path to the magic 1,000mph mark.
For the record breaking attempt the Bloodhound SSC will be taken to the mud flats of the Hakskeen Pan in the Northern Cape district of South Africa. There a 12-mile-long 2 mile wide section of the flats has been cleared for the high speed runs. The team currently hopes to take the Bloodhound SSC out for a record attempt in the summer of 2018 when the mud and salt flats are at their best. They had originally planned to do the first runs in 2017 but flooding and funding difficulties both put a dampener on that. Still this is not a pursuit you want to rush and we can be sure that when they do attempt the record it will be spectacular.
Stay tuned for further updates as the Bloodhound SSC team attempt to take ground based vehicles to unbelievable speeds, shattering world records in the process.