Blood­hound fi­nally taken off its leash in UK


Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Mo­tor News Re­porter

Blood­hound SSC (su­per­sonic car), the car built to at­tempt to break the world land speed record at the Hakskeen Pan in SA, made its first pub­lic runs in the UK, hit­ting a peak speed of 201mph (323km/h). The suc­cess­ful test was live streamed around the world and came 20 years after driver Wing Com­man­der Andy Green set the cur­rent World Land Speed Record of 763.035mph (1,228km/h).


Spec­ta­tors gath­ered to watch the team con­duct two runs along the 2.7km run­way in Newquay, south­west Eng­land. Blood­hound ac­cel­er­ated at a rate of 1.5G, reach­ing 322km/h from a stand­ing start in just eight sec­onds. Power was pro­vided by a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet en­gine, nor­mally found in a Eurofighter Typhoon, which pro­duced a peak thrust of 90 kilo­new­tons, equiv­a­lent to the com­bined out­put of 360 fam­ily cars.

On com­plet­ing the test, Green said: “The de­sign and en­gi­neer­ing team has done an in­cred­i­ble job with Blood­hound SSC. There is de­vel­op­ment work still to do, but straight out of the box it feels re­spon­sive, sta­ble and tremen­dously fast.

“Although 200mph is far below the car’s ul­ti­mate tar­get of 1,000mph (1,609km/h), to­day was a proper work­out for the ve­hi­cle. The car is de­signed for high speed on a desert rather than sprint per­for­mance off the line, but it still ac­cel­er­ates from zero to 200mph in less than eight sec­onds. Stop­ping a slip­pery, five tonne car, run­ning on low-grip air­craft tyres, within a lim­ited space, is also a chal­lenge, par­tic­u­larly as the car con­tin­ues ac­cel­er­at­ing for sev­eral sec­onds after I lift off the throt­tle.

“We have built up to this over the past few weeks, but the per­for­mance to­day was still slightly as­ton­ish­ing. Blood­hound SSC is al­ready per­form­ing like a thor­ough­bred rac­ing car, sup­ported by a bril­liant en­gi­neer­ing team.

“When we run on the dry lake bed at Hakskeen Pan, SA, Blood­hound SSC will be run­ning on solid alu­minium wheels with even less grip than we had here. Data from to­day’s tests, in­clud­ing jet en­gine per­for­mance, aero­dy­namic sta­bil­ity and the brak­ing dis­tances, will help us plan our cam­paign.”


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 also pro­vided Green with his first op­por­tu­nity to drive the car, and al­lowed the team to de­velop its op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures and safety pro­to­cols, and prac­tice ra­dio com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

On the run­way, the car used 84cm di­am­e­ter wheels shod with pneu­matic tyres, orig­i­nally from an English Elec­tric Lightning fighter. Spe­cially re­con­di­tioned by Dun­lop, they have about 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 were not fit­ted to the car dur­ing the tests.

Chief en­gi­neer Mark Chap­man said: “The Newquay tests have gone bet­ter than any­one dared hope and that is tes­ta­ment to years of re­search and de­sign. It is a one-off pro­to­type with more than 3,500 be­spoke parts, so to see it per­form­ing so well to­day is hugely sat­is­fy­ing.”

Blood­hound SSC per­forms one of two 200mph runs at Newquay in the UK.

Pi­lot Andy Green climbs into the cock­pit of the car.

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