Following its first public runs back in October, the team behind the Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC) has shifted its focus to a dry lake bed in South Africa, where it hopes to shatter the world's land speed record in 2020.

The long-term objective for the team behind the Bloodhound Supersonic Car is to cross the 1,000-mph (1,600-km/h) threshold and set a new land speed record, which currently sits at 763 mph (1,228 km/h). The vehicle was conceived almost a decade ago, and powered by Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine with an equivalent thrust to 360 family cars is now edging closer to that goal.

The recent public test runs at Cornwall Airport Newquay saw the car shuttled to 210 mph (337 km/h) from a standing start in just eight seconds, pulling 1.5 G along the way. The team is now targeting transonic speeds of 500 mph (804 km/h) along the 12-mile (19-km) Hakskeen Pan track in Northern Cape, South Africa, in October 2018.

While still well short of the 1,000 mph mark, those speeds will see the Bloodhound SSC tested in new ways. At speeds between 400 and 500 mph (640 and 804 km/h), the vehicle's aerodynamics start to dictate its stability, rather than the wheels in contact with the desert surface, and things are expected to get extra shaky during this transition.

The team will collects hundreds of gigabits of data through 500 sensors integrated into the car. This will include information on the relationship between the solid aluminum wheels and base drag, which refers to the aerodynamic force generated by low pressure at the rear that pulls it back. Using these insights, the team will gain a better understanding of the power required to break the land speed record.

This run will also be the first time the Bloodhound SSC is running on its solid aluminum wheels, designed specifically for the desert surface. With a V-shaped keel, these dig 25 mm (1 in) into the baked mud surface when the car is stationary, but then rise up as speed increases, like a speedboat lifting out of the water. When it hits 500 mph, just a few millimeters of metal will touch the ground. The team is offering 500 all-access tickets for those interested in seeing all of this play out in person.

"Bloodhound 500 is a key milestone on the route to setting a 1,000 mph record," said driver Andy Green, who was at the wheel during the recent tests. "Building on everything we learned in Newquay this October, we'll learn a tremendous amount by going fast on the desert the car was designed to run on. We hope you can join us in the Kalahari desert to share this experience first-hand."

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