Bloodhound Supersonic Car debuts in London

The Bloodhound Supersonic Car, described by its designers as the world’s fastest and most advanced racing car, is unveiled in London ahead of speed tests that will pave the way for its attempt to set a new World Land Speed Record of 1000mph.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (SEPTEMBER 24, 2015) (REUTERS) – Described as “part Formula 1 car, part space rocket and part supersonic jet”, the Bloodhound Supersonic Car is aiming to be the world’s first 1,000mph car when it attempts to set a new world record. The car’s British designers say they are pushing the limits of science, with the Bloodhound a catalyst for cutting-edge research in fields such as aerodynamics and sustainable high-tech engineering.

At an event in London’s Canary Wharf, the completed Bloodhound vehicle was unveiled to the public following eight years of research, design and manufacturing, involving over 350 companies and universities.

“We were able to first get the land speed record in 1983, and then to achieve the first ever supersonic in ’97. And we were very, very proud of that. But then, of course, the Americans decided that they were going to take it on. So we had to respond, I mean we can’t sit back and do nothing. So we said what we’ve got to do is respond and build the ultimate car, in others words set the bar so high that nobody could follow – that’s the general idea. So, we’re talking about a 30 percent increase in the land speed record – it’s a huge, huge challenge,” explained project director Richard Noble.

Bloodhound SSC (supersonic car) will be driven by Wing Commander Andy Green who set the current record of 763mph (1228kmh) at the wheel of ThrustSSC in 1997. Speaking to Reuters in March when the car was still being assembled, Green said Bloodhound will travel faster than any fighter jet at low altitude, covering a mile in just 3.6 seconds.

“From a standing start, being twelve miles away two minutes after setting off – no car in history has ever done that before. This will be the first, and the fastest,” he said.

During the 1,000mph record attempt, Green will travel faster than a bullet fired from a handgun thanks to three Nammo hybrid rockets combined with a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine from a Eurofighter-Typhoon to produce about 135,000 thrust horsepower. According to the designers this is more than seven times the power output of all the cars in Formula 1 combined, making Bloodhound the worlds’ most powerful land vehicle.

Bloodhound’s designers say it will accelerate from 0 – 1,050mph in 40 seconds. At maximum velocity the air pressure bearing down on its carbon fibre and titanium bodywork will exceed twelve tonnes per square metre.

Its specially designed aluminium wheels will be rotating at over 10,000 rpm – 167 revolutions per second. Travelling at 1000mph, any stones or debris that is kicked up by the wheels could become a deadly projectile. The design team therefore came up with a bullet-proof exterior using panels made from millions of tightly woven glass threads that give driver Green enough protection without adding too much weight to the vehicle.

The fighter pilot and land speed record holder admitted he will be slightly nervous when he climbs inside the vehicle’s cockpit, but has absolute confidence in the team of experts building the Bloodhound.

“Every single time I get in this car, I’m going to be slightly nervous… as we’ve pushed back the boundaries of physics in a car that is part Formula 1 car, part space rocket and part supersonic jet fighter. All of that world-class product, tens of thousands of people have input into this astonishing vehicle. Every single time I drive that, my driving has to be world-class to be worthy of that,” said Green.

The team plans to next year travel to the Hakskeen Pan in Northern Cape, South Africa, to put the Bloodhound through its paces by attempting to set a new record of 800mph. This will allow the engineers and scientists involved to assess the car’s performance ahead of the planned 1,000mph attempt. Described as “uncharted territory”, the team will face the aerodynamic challenge of travelling far beyond the speed of sound (approx. 761 mph), with shockwaves pummelling the ground beneath the car’s wheels; it’s beyond what their computers can predict.