Bloodhound back on track
THE WORLD’S most advanced straight-line racing car, Bloodhound SSC, will finally be driven for the first time in October, 20 years after the current land-speed record of 1228km/h was set.
Wing Commander Andy Green steered Thrust SSC to that speed on 15 October 1997, and will be at the wheel of the Bloodhound SSC as it’s put through its paces at Cornwall Airport Newquay, in the UK in October. Thereafter the plan is to ship the car to South Africa’s Kalahari desert for an attempt at a new land-speed record next year.
Runway trials will mark the culmination of a month of tests to prove the car’s steering, brakes, suspension, data systems, and so on, as well as the EJ200 jet engine, sourced from a Eurofighter Typhoon military airplane.
Thousands of visitors are expected to watch as it’s driven at speeds of up to 320km/h on the 2.7 kilometre runway, in the first tangible evidence that the project is back on track after years of delays, mostly due to funding issues.
Project director Richard Noble said: “It’s frustrating to change our schedule again, but our pace of development has to be pegged to the flow of funding.
“We have recently agreed new partnerships with a global IT company and a leading fashion brand, but there is inevitably a time delay between pledges of support, contracts being signed and cash arriving.”
One of the problems is that the power of the Bloodhound’s rocket engine - it has both jet and rocket power - will have to be increased to provide a performance margin in case the complete car, which has evolved over many years from the original design, is heavier than estimated.
The project has been further delayed by flooding at Hakskeenpan in the Kalahari, the site chosen for the world land speed record attempt, in January 2017 and again in March.
The new plan, allowing time for final preparation of the track in case of more flooding during the 2018 rainy season, is to send an advance party to the Kalahari in mid-2018, and begin Bloodhound’s first World Land Speed Record campaign in the second half of 2018. The aim will be to achieve 1000mph (or 1609km/h).
Before it moves under its own power, Bloodhound SSC must undergo several days of static “tiedown” tests in which the jet engine will be run up with the car chained to the ground.
Knowing how soon full power can be applied minimises this risk, while having “real world” acceleration data will enable chief aerodynamicist Ron Ayers to plan the sequence of runs at Hakskeenpan that, it is hoped, will result in a new world land-speed record.
- Daily Mail