Bloodhound LSR supersonic car hits record speeds in South Africa
It has been a stop-start affair of late for the Bloodhound supersonic car, which was on the brink bankruptcy last year but now has the land speed record again firmly in its sights. Looking to maintain its forward momentum, the team has taken to a lakebed in a South African desert for a test run, in which the jet-engine-powered vehicle reached its fastest speeds yet.
Good progress was being made with the Bloodhound LSR (Land Speed Record) up until the funds ran dry in December of 2018, with its final test run seeing it rocket to 210 mph (334 km/h) in just eight seconds. The project was saved at the eleventh hour by entrepreneur Ian Warhurst, who moved the team into a new headquarters and gave the vehicle a new paint job, which we got a proper look at in the South African desert last week.
Now the team is seeing what it’s made of once again. The team extracted 16,500 tonnes of rock from the dry lakebed in the Hakskeenpan salt pan of the Kalahari Desert, to give the car the best chance of a smooth run.
This first outing for the renewed Bloodhound LSR consisted of three separate runs. The first started with a static engine test before the steering and braking systems were put through their paces at low speeds, up to 100 mph (160 km/h). A 200-mph-run (321 km/h) then followed, in which the car was left to “coast-down” so the team could observe the rolling resistance.
Then for the grand finale, the EJ200 jet engine fired up its afterburners for a full 12-second reheat, which established that it is functioning properly, and propelled the Bloodhound LSR to 334 mph (537 km/h), a record for the now 11-year-old project. This run marks the beginning of the high-speed testing program, with the team to build up to a target speed of 500 mph (800 km/h) over the next four weeks in 50-mph (80-km/h) increments.
“We’ve had two very successful runs today, with the second run reaching a max speed of 334 mph – going from 50 mph to 300 mph in 13 seconds,” says Bloodhound driver Andy Green, who is also the current land speed record holder. “There was strong cross wind gusting at over 15 mph and we’ve established that this is pretty much the limit for running in the car. We’re happy because this was a successful test, now we’re ready to progress on to higher speeds.”
Ultimately, the team is working towards two key objectives. First, it aspires to break the land speed record, which currently stands at 763.035 mph (1,227.9 km/h). From there, it will set its sights on blasting past the 1,000-mph-mark (1,609 km/h). It is planning for the land speed record attempt in late 2020.
Source: Bloodhound LSR