Bloodhound Supersonic Car Completes Initial Testing, Hopes to Surpass Mach 1
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.
“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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