Bloodhound sets a date for supersonic record attempt

Rendering of the Bloodhound speeding over a salt-flat. A dust cloud is whipped up in its wake and the ignited engines spit with flames.

20 July 2016 2 minute read

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After a brief hiatus, the team behind BLOODHOUND Supersonic Car have announced that in October 2017 they will return to take on the World Land Speed Record set by Andy Green in 1997.

Twenty years after the RAF fighter pilot set the record of 763.035mph, becoming the fastest man on earth, the BLOODHOUND team have received the essential funding to complete the car. The recent signing of major deals has secured the future of the supersonic project, and the countdown has officially begun to high-speed testing at the Hakskeen Pan in South Africa in the autumn of next year.

The car, which has been displayed throughout the UK since its debut in September 2015, is what is known as a trial-build, without any fluids, and built to test the fit of over 3500 specially made components. Motor manufacturers typically produce hundreds of mock-up builds such as this to hone down each and every detail of the prototype, however, there is only one BLOODHOUND SSC.

The next step for the engineers who are back on the case is to strip down the 13.5m long body, making detailed notes and documenting the entire process to compile the BLOODHOUND User Manual. This will prove to be a vital piece of kit for the team in the months to come, as they prepare the race the world’s most complex racing car across the Kalahari Desert in the dead of night.

Once any necessary alterations have been made to the car, it will be bolted back together and sent down to the Newquay Aerohub in Cornwall, where it will undergo rigorous testing of the EJ200 Jet and Nammo rocket system that will push BLOODHOUND through the sound barrier next year. The supersonic vehicle will travel under its own power for the first time in June 2017, cruising through a shake-down test at around 220mph down Newquay runway. This will be the perfect opportunity for the team to test out the live-stream data and imagery from the car, sharing its adventures with a global audience.

Once the preliminary testing is out of the way, the car will be packaged up and loaded into a specialised Boeing 747 aircraft for the journey to Upington, South Africa, before being transported to the teams desert base at Hakskeen Pan. Here it will meet the ground crew, primed to check, refuel and ready the car in the world’s most high-pressured pit stop.

With every step of the process needing to be meticulously rehearsed, the first practice loading of BLOODHOUND into a 747 aircraft took place at the Farnborough International Airshow last week. Speaking before the airshow, Richard Noble, Project Director of BLOODHOUND SSC said: “This is probably the biggest moment in the Project’s history. Before we could only see financially a few months ahead but now we can put our foot down and really go for it!

We’re in this position thanks to the incredible support of our partners and sponsors, and the dedication and sacrifice of many people, including a skeleton crew who have held the fort and quite literally kept the lights on.

Most of all it has been the amazing public response that has sustained us. Thousands of children up and down the country are racing Model Rocket Cars and there is tremendous public enthusiasm for the Project wherever we go.

We have come through this difficult stage wiser, leaner and fitter. BLOODHOUND is now in Race Preparation which means 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!”

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