Tech

Supersonic car prepares for world record attempt

A supersonic car combining the technology of a fighter jet, F1 car and space craft is to take part in the first public tests before attempting to break the land speed world record.

Bloodhound SSC has been built over nine years by a team of Bristol-based engineers from aeronautical and automotive backgrounds.

After weeks of trials, today they will put the car through its paces at Newquay Airport in Cornwall.

The two runway trials come after a series of tests to check the car’s steering, brakes, suspension and data systems, as well as the efficiency of the intake feeding air to the EJ200 jet engine, sourced from a Eurofighter Typhoon.

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Wing Commander Andy Green set the current world record and is back hoping to break it. Pic: Bloodhound SSC

The landmark moment in the high-profile project comes 20 years after the current land speed world record was set on 15 October, 1997.

Many of those who set that record are back to break it, including Wing Commander Andy Green who drove Thrust SSC (Super Sonic Car) in the Arizona desert, making history as the first person to breach the sound barrier at 763.035 mph.

Andy Green, driver of ThrustSSC, the British jet car in the background that will attempt to break the world land speed record and possibly the sound barrier, walks away from ThrustSSC in 1997
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Andy Green seen with Thrust SSC in 1997 when the current record was set

The ultimate aim of Bloodhound SSC is to not only break that record but reach a knuckle-whitening 1000mph in the South Africa desert.

A man working on Bloodhound SSC. Pic: Bloodhound SSC
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Bloodhound SSC has been built over nine years by Britsol-based engineers. Pic: Bloodhound SSC

During the trials in Cornwall, Mr Green and his team will push the car up to around 200mph to check its progress.

Mr Green said he will be particularly watching the car’s aerodynamics to see how it copes at high speed.

“Every single test run we do will be increasing the speed and I’ll be watching at every stage the downloads on the wheels,” he said.

“If they’re getting too low, we’ll abort, if they’re getting too high, we’ll abort. I’ll be watching the instruments all the time.”

Andy Green with Bloodhound SSC. Pic: Bloodhound SSC
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During the trials in Cornwall, the car’s progress will be checked. Pic: Bloodhound SSC

The tests will also give the team an idea of how their engine systems work.

Bloodhound uses a Typhoon fighter jet engine to get up to around 350mph before a Jaguar V8 muscle car engine kicks in to supply fuel to a rocket which propels the car to over 1000mph. In total, Bloodhound SSC will have eight times the power of all the cars on an F1 grid.

That’s the theory, but first the car will have to pass the Newquay Airport tests later.

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