Is it a car or a rocket? Meet the Bloodhound
Track tests begin in the UK today on the world's "most advanced straight-line racing car" that aims to be the first to achieve speeds of over over 1600 KPH. Today's tests will limit the car to 200 MPH, but it's planned to break the sound barrier soon.
BLOODHOUND SSC, will make its first public runs at Cornwall Airport Newquay, aiming to hit a peak speed of 200mph. The tests, which are taking place 20 years after driver Wing Commander Andy Green set the current World Land Speed Record of 763.035mph, will be streamed live around the world.
More than 3,000 spectators are expected to gather at Newquay to watch the BLOODHOUND team conduct two runs along the 9,000ft (2.7km) runway. Power will be provided by a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine, normally found in a Eurofighter Typhoon, which produces a peak thrust of 20,000lbs (90 kilonewtons), equivalent to 54,000bhp, or the combined output of 360 family cars.
The runway trials mark the culmination of a month of testing which has helped prove the Car’s steering, brakes, suspension, data systems and other functions, as well as the integration of the EJ200 jet engine. The tests are also providing Andy Green with his first opportunity to drive BLOODHOUND SSC, and allowing the Team to develop its operating procedures, safety protocols and practice radio communications.
On the runway, the Car is using 84cm diameter wheels shod with pneumatic tyres, originally from an English Electric Lightning fighter. Specially reconditioned by Dunlop, these have around one-third of the grip of regular car tyres. As the runway wheels are slightly thicker than their desert equivalents, some sections of the carbon fibre bodywork will not be fitted to the Car.
"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", says Andy Green.
Prior to the public runs, trials were initially carried out with the car chained to the ground, so the team could check the performance of the jet, fuel and electrical systems. These static ‘tie-down’ experiments were extremely successful, with the EJ200 engine achieving re-heat despite the fact that the jet intake is designed to work best in air travelling at supersonic speeds of 850mph and above.
A series of Dynamic Tests followed, with the engineers learning more about the Car’s performance and able to compare computer models with real data for the first time. Further tests were conducted earlier this week with BLOODHOUND’s tail fin in place, with the Team paying close attention to the Car’s behaviour in cross-winds.
The BLOODHOUND Project is an international education initiative focussed around a 1,000mph (1,609km/h) World Land Speed Record. The primary aim is to inspire the next generation of scientist and engineers by showcasing STEM subjects (science, technology engineering and mathematics) in the most exciting way possible.
BLOODHOUND SSC is a combination of fast jet, F1 car and spaceship. The Project is followed in over 220 countries and territories.
At full speed, BLOODHOUND SSC will cover a mile (1.6km) in 3.6 seconds – that’s 4.5 football pitches laid end to end, per second, or 300m in the blink of an eye.