By on October 3, 2012

A successful test of the “biggest rocket fired in the UK for over 20 years” cleared the way for an attack on the 1,000 mph mark in a car. According to Reuters, the rocket will be twinned with a fighter jet engine from a Eurofighter Typhoon. With that new “hybrid,” the team behind the Bloodhound supersonic car wants to smash the existing world land speed record of 763 mph and go all the way to 1,000 mph.

The test-firing took place in a bomb-proof military hangar at an airport in the southwest English town of Newquay. Apart from the rocket and the turbine, the car also uses a Cosworth Formula One engine, purely to pump peroxide-based rocket fuel into the combustion chamber.

Bloodhound plans to attack 1,000 mph on a dry lake bed called Hakskeen Pan in South Africa’s Northern Cape region in 2014.


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33 Comments on “Maximum Land Speed Record To Be Toasted...”

  • avatar

    I don’t know. When is a car not a “car”? It’s a jet w/o wings, not really a car.

    • 0 avatar

      I understand there are many different classes of land speed record. This would merely be a record for a self-powered vehicle in contact with the ground. You’re right; it’s really a rocket/jet with wheels.

      There is a separate record for vehicles powered through the wheels – that’s much harder to do. I think that record is in the 500 mph range.

    • 0 avatar

      Good Gravy! We’ve got “biggest rocket fired in the UK for over 20 years” and “smash the existing world land speed record of 763 mph and go all the way to 1,000 mph” in a story and most comments are quibbling about the semantics of labeling it a car (some in jest I’m sure). Tough crowd. But maybe you’re right. This thing is 0% car and 100% AWESOME!

    • 0 avatar

      The Bonneville Salt Flats had seen some strange things,
      But the strangest thing yet was a jet without wings.
      Once as a jet it played in the stars,
      But now on the ground it’s the king of our cars.

      Roger Christian–Brian Wilson

  • avatar

    Without cupholders I’d hardly call that a car.

  • avatar

    Sorry, but that isn’t a car. Put the hardware in a Crown Vic of most recent vintage and you’ll have something…

    Crown Vics DO have cupholders.

    • 0 avatar

      Not exactly, but similar.

      The guy is my neighbor (down the street) a very unique fellow, LOL.

  • avatar

    Well, it offers the same amount of visibility as a modern car.
    And if it has thrust-reversers it can parallell park.

  • avatar

    Does it have a stereo with Bluetooth?

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    I bet this vehicle provides an estimated highway EPA rating of less than 1/100 MPG using Premium Fuel with the A/C on and the windows rolled up.

  • avatar

    It doesn’t drive fast, it flies low.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Four questions: 1. Does having four wheels instead of three determine what category (and associated rules)this vehicle falls under? 2. 763-1000 MPH, what’s Mach at Hakskeen Pan? 3. Why aren’t they trying this at the Bonneville Salt Flats? 4. In today’s twitter, you tube, Facebook world, didn’t they make a movie about Craig Breedlove and his trials and tribulations?

  • avatar

    I admire the engineering and the balls of the “driver” but I don’t think it should be called a “land speed record”. That title should belong to cars with driven wheels like Malcolm Campbell’s cars of the 30s, 40s and 50s or the famous Goldenrod from 1965.

  • avatar

    Hakskeen Pan…I wonder why not Bonneville?

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe it’s flatter there, or the weather is better, or the transportation is cheaper, or less regulations. I suppose this will create a sonic boom. But I also get the impression that many Europeans would rather go anywhere than America.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Gordon

      Well given that the last successful Land Speed Record attempt at Bonneville was 42 years ago I’d say there are other locations just as well suited.

  • avatar

    It could be the reason for the location of the speed run is simply that the logistics are easier, but if you’re running near the speed of sound, it could be they’re looking for a place that is higher above sea level than Bonneville, because that would lower the speed to reach Mach. I am certain that the track and wheelbase as well as the number of wheels is only for the stability of the vehicle, there have been three wheeled land speed cars in the past that were also rocket powered, so it makes no difference as far as the rules at this level are concerned.

  • avatar

    Bonneville’s too short and too weather-dependent for the really fast stuff these days. They moved to the Black Rock Desert for the ’97 record because it was a poor Bonneville season.

  • avatar

    How could you not mention the main rival?

    Roscoe McGlashan the Australian land speed record holder is currently building the Aussie Invader 5R.
    The 9 tonne (fuelled) car is propelled by a 62,000lb, or about 200,000hp, Atlas rocket engine. The 0-1000mph time is expected to be about 20s.

    The main point of difference between the 5R and the Bloodhound SSC is the simplicity of the 5R. It has a single engine with almost no moving parts compared to the SSC’s 3 engines. It has no air intake to cause drag or turbulence and it uses simple construction techniques compared to the carbon fibre SSC. The 5R is a missile with wheels compared to the fighter jet with wheels SSC.

    Then there is also the North American Eagle which is only hoping to break the current record not 1000mph.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Gordon

      No the main point of difference is that the team behind the bloodhound have already broken the land speed record three time and have held it for nearly 30 years.

      • 0 avatar

        There is no need to get snarky, I was just talking about the cars.

        But assuming you were being constructive how do you think the experience of the British team will help. How do you weigh this against the past couple of attempts by McGlashan.
        Also what do you think of the different design philosophies.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        No Snarkyness intended.

        The value of the experience of the British team is hard to overstate. Firstly there is the technical aspect, in that they have data and information on how a land vehicle behaves at supersonic speed that nobody else has. They have a pilot who has handled a supersonic car before and of course being a RAF Fighter Pilot would have completed hundred of supersonic flights. They have full access to RAF technical and maintenance personnel to service the front-line power plant (EJ-200 out of the Typhoon) likewise Cosworth.

      • 0 avatar

        The British team certainly have a more technically capable team but i would argue this is negated by the simplicity of the Australian car. Similarly the experience of actually going supersonic seems of little value considering the sophistication of fluid modelling available to both teams.
        The British team definitely have more experience and this has been demonstrated in the last LSR attempts by the Aussies failing. The first with a crash due to bad surface selection the second by bad weather. These failures are much less likely with a more experienced team.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Robert Gordon, thanks for your knowledge and expertise in land speed records mate. I respect and admire the engineering behind this effort and the Wing-Commander who has the balls to drive it. I know you’re passionate about all this, but for most of us it’ll be a sound bite on the news, sorry.

  • avatar
    Fred Smith

    That’s the best use of a F1 engine I’ve heard of! Far better than playing a song.

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