Bloodhound 1200km/h land speed record attempt back on track
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Less than a year ago it seemed the Bloodhound land speed record project had reached a financial road block and the car wouldn’t be seen on the move again after its initial airport runway shakedown in late 2017.
But the re-ignited programme, under new ownership, has been carrying out its initial test programme on a specially prepared desert course in South Africa.
Bloodhound LSR is a new venture based on the Bloodhound SSC Car that was rescued from administration by Yorkshire-based businessman Ian Warhurst in December last year.
The project has a new parent company, Grafton LSR Limited, and new headquarters at the UK Land Speed Record Centre in Gloucestershire.
Driven by land speed record holder Andy Green, the Bloodhound LSR has completed multiple test runs to validate its performance, aerodynamics, parachute deployment and communications. It reached peak velocity of 501mph on November 6.
Testing was temporarily curtailed last week to rectify an engine bay temperature problem.
The tests are the first step towards world land speed record ambitions with the team establishing a Desert Technical Camp on the edge of the Hakskeenpan desert to house the car and a temporary workshop.
Testing began at 160km/h to complete systems checks and the car has built its speed in 80km/h increments.
A 16km desert racetrack has been prepared by 317 members of the local Mier community, funded by the Northern Cape Government. They have moved 16,500 tonnes of rock from 22 million square metres of dry lakebed. The course is 250 metres wide, providing large safety areas on both sides.
“This allows us to lay out up to 25 individual tracks side by side, if we need them,” said Warhurst.
“This is important as we can’t run over the same piece of ground twice because the car will break up the baked mud surface as it passes.
“The next few weeks will allow us to test the car and train the team, ready for our assault on the outright World Land Speed Record.”
The Bloodhound LSR project’s objectives are split into two phases.
The first is to break the record (763.035mph/1227.9km/h) and to understand how the car behaves as it enters the transonic stage and then supersonic speed levels. If testing goes to plan the record attempt will be made in 2020.
Phase two will involve the team reviewing the data and technical challenges to try to safely reach 1000mph.
The car has a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine, normally found in a Eurofighter Typhoon. The engine develops peak thrust of 20,000 lbs (90 kilonewtons) — equivalent to 54,000 thrust horsepower — or the combined output of 360 family cars. To break the record the car will also be powered by solid fuel Nammo rockets.
The World Land Speed Record was set in 1997 by a UK team led by Richard Noble.