Bloodhound Supersonic sets target date for 800 mph world record attempt
Twenty years after Thrust SSC went supersonic, there's a new kid on the block -- and it wants to claim its crown. The Bloodhound SSC hopes to top Thrust SSC's 763.035 mph world land speed record with an attempt to reach 800 mph in October 2017.
New funding means the Bloodhound project -- which was shown in London last September -- can complete the car and begin the process of high speed testing in Northern Cape, South Africa in Autumn next year. Before then the Bloodhound SSC will make its first journey in the UK next June, for a 'slow speed' test at 220 mph (354 km/h).
One thousand miles per hour?
From the outside, the Bloodhound is sleek and aerodynamic, stretching 13.5 meters long (44 feet), with a two-meter high tail fin perched at the end for stability as it hurtles forward at high speeds.
And while looks matter, it's really what's on the inside that designers hope will be enough to propel this supersonic car into the history books.
"It's a mixture of jet engine and rocket motor," says project director Richard Noble.
The car houses a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine, and a supercharged Jaguar V8 engine driving a pump for the Nammo rocket motor built by the Royal Space Agency. A team of Formula 1 and aerospace experts built the Bloodhound, with help from the British Royal Air Force, and Army engineers.
It has taken eight years of design, research and manufacturing to build, all in an attempt to smash the current land speed record of 763 mph set in 1997. If everything goes according to plan, the car will eventually travel at 1,000 mph.
"Zero to a 1,000 miles an hour is 55 seconds, and then when we go through the measured mile it's 3.6 seconds ... a mile in 3.6 seconds. Then we gotta think about stopping," says Noble with a laugh.
Noble is no stranger to fast cars, he drove the Thrust2, which traveled at 633 mph, and broke the land speed record back in 1983. He was also the project director of the Thrust SSC, the team that broke the record in 1997.
"We achieved the first-ever supersonic land speed record with enormous supersonic bangs," Noble says of the 1997 victory. He's looking forward to hearing the sweet music of jet engines once again.
"We have come through [the funding] stage wiser, leaner and fitter," he says. "The pace and the pressure will ramp up but so too will the sense of satisfaction as we head towards our car breaking the sound barrier for the first time, with the world watching!"