By on October 29, 2017

bloodhound-ssc

It has been a long time since anybody set a new land-speed record. In the early days, it seemed like a new benchmark was set every couple of years but the current bar hasn’t budged since 1997 — when Andy Green screamed across Black Rock in the Thrust SSC at a mind-warping 763 mph.

There is a new jet-propelled “automobile” preparing to break that record, backed by a multi-million-dollar venture between Geely Automobiles, Rolls-Royce, and anyone else interested in seeing a wheeled rocket scoot across the ground at supersonic speeds. There will not, however, be a new driver. Andy Green will be reprising his role as the fastest man on sand whilst piloting the Bloodhound SSC in South Africa. 

That’s a ways off, though. The Bloodhound has only just completed initial trials in the United Kingdom hitting 200 miles per hour in nine seconds. With enough room to run, Green thinks it could easily break the world record within a few years.

saturday-run-bloodhound-ssc

“We came here to say Bloodhound is Go! And that’s exactly what we managed to demonstrate today,” Green said after successfully testing the vehicle at Cornwall Airport in Newquay, England, this weekend. “The performance, the handling, the stability of it — I can’t fault the car at all, it just worked brilliantly.”

Using a combination of car and aircraft technology, the front section of the vehicle uses a carbon-fiber monocoque with a metallic framework for the tail section. The front wheels sit within the body to improve aerodynamics while the rear wheels are mounted externally within fairings. It’s powered by three engines: a Eurojet EJ200 jet engine and Nammo rocket cluster provide the trust, while a supercharged V8 (provided by Jaguar) serves as an auxiliary power unit and drives the rocket oxidizer pump. Total thrust is estimated at about 135,000 horsepower.

The Bloodhound project was launched in 2008 with the singular objective of designing a car able to reach speeds above 1,000 mph. Roughly 30 million pounds ($39.49 million) have already gone into its development but that price tag could double by the time it makes a drive for the record.

[Image: The Bloodhound Project]

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17 Comments on “Bloodhound Supersonic Car Completes Initial Testing, Hopes to Surpass Mach 1...”


  • avatar
    hamish42

    Given that the chances of human survival in this endeavor, should anything at all happen, are considerably less than zero, I can’t imagine anyone putting their life on the line for such a meaningless cause. I’m not sure what category this fits into, but I don’t consider itmotor sport.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Sounds like you have volunteered to be the driver/pilot.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Guy

      You are right. We are all much better off in life if we stay in our safe rooms. Just make sure you have ample supply of coloring books and therapy ponies in yours……

    • 0 avatar
      dont.fit.in.cars

      “I can’t imagine anyone putting their life on the line for such a meaningless cause.”

      If your not in the arena, your a timid soul.

    • 0 avatar
      Dawnrazor

      “I’m not sure what category this fits into, but I don’t consider it motor sport.”

      Well, “sport” is defined as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment”, and “motorsport” is defined as “any of several sports involving the racing or competitive driving of motor vehicles”. The Bloodhound most definitely contains a “motor”, the team is exerting significant “skill” and “physical exertion” and intends to succeed where others’ past efforts have failed, and the entire endeavor is interesting and entertaining to at least some of us, so I think that just about covers all the bases!

      This is the kind of daring, incredibly dangerous, and outright insane (to most people) pursuit that we just don’t see anymore in our sanitized world of risk mitigation at all costs and computer simulation/VR. The only justification to do this is simply to prove it is possible and to experience the glory that comes from taking huge risks conquering a heretofore impenetrable hard-limit set by the natural environment, and I think that’s pretty fantastic!

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        While I, mostly, agree, it must be said that risk-aversion isn’t really the driving factor here. I’d say it’s the law of diminishing returns. The effort required to exceed the current records is astronomical. In terms of effort, we’ve come a long way from Art Arfons, Craig Breedlove and Mickey Thompson building LSR cars in their respective garages.

  • avatar
    John

    As the body shape creates a wing, I wonder how they intend to keep it planted on the ground at speed?

    • 0 avatar
      blockmachining

      Looks like it has a pair of canards just in front of the front wheels and a pair of rear horizontal stabilizers on the rear. Both of these aero controls appear to be able to move.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        At this budget and level of tech I don’t see why they can’t have active aero/fly by wire. If it wasn’t for the computers everything from the F-16 to the B-2 would fall out of the sky.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I’d rather watch jet-powered semi-trucks at the drag strip. Both are some kind of mechanical outlier. The beer would be cheaper too.

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    Boring engineering note. Thrust is measured in units of force, power is measured in hp, and is problematical for reaction engines.

  • avatar
    Syke

    What little interest I have in this sort of endeavor is limited to the class of vehicles where the engine is actually hooked up to, and driving, the wheels of the vehicle. I believe that class of land speed record is somewhere in the 400’s.

    Those, I can at least call cars. These things? Aircraft without wings.

  • avatar
    markf

    Elon Musk announced today that Tesla will build an electric version that will do Mach 2 and cost $28k. Production will start in 2019 and by 2021 they will be producing 50K Mach 2 electric cars a week.

    Tesla stock closed at $900 after Musk’s announcement

  • avatar
    doublechili

    I hope they had a rope or fence to protect those spectators in case the rocket car lost control….

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Just follow the advice of my high school AD when the senior boys were charged with winching basketball goals up and down.

      “If the cable snaps and that things starts to drop, run like h*ll.”

  • avatar
    makuribu

    If there’s no drive train, ie if the wheels aren’t driven by the engine, it’s not so much a car as a rocket on a skateboard.

    Horrible waste of time and money, but then I think of McLaren-Honda in F1…

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