Automotive

Bloodhound Supersonic Car edges toward 500-mph test runs in South African desert

Bloodhound Supersonic Car edge...
The Bloodhound Supersonic Car is a decade in the making
The Bloodhound Supersonic Car is a decade in the making
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The Bloodhound Project seeks to hit 1,000 mph with its supersonic car, across a dry lake bed in South Africa
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The Bloodhound Project seeks to hit 1,000 mph with its supersonic car, across a dry lake bed in South Africa
Following its first public runs back in October, the team behind the Bloodhound Supersonic Car has shifted its focus to the dry lake bed in South Africa
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Following its first public runs back in October, the team behind the Bloodhound Supersonic Car has shifted its focus to the dry lake bed in South Africa
The team behind the Bloodhound Project 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
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The team behind the Bloodhound Project 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
The team behind the Bloodhound Project 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
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The team behind the Bloodhound Project 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
The Bloodhound Project seeks to hit 1,000 mph with its supersonic car, across a dry lake bed in South Africa
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The Bloodhound Project seeks to hit 1,000 mph with its supersonic car, across a dry lake bed in South Africa
The Bloodhound Supersonic car in action
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The Bloodhound Supersonic car in action
The Bloodhound Supersonic car in action
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The Bloodhound Supersonic car in action
The Bloodhound Supersonic Car is a decade in the making
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The Bloodhound Supersonic Car is a decade in the making
The Bloodhound supersonic car is powered by Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine with an equivalent thrust to 360 family cars
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The Bloodhound supersonic car is powered by Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine with an equivalent thrust to 360 family cars

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.

The Bloodhound Project seeks to hit 1,000 mph with its supersonic car, across a dry lake bed in South Africa
The Bloodhound Project seeks to hit 1,000 mph with its supersonic car, across a dry lake bed in South Africa

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."

Source: The Bloodhound Project

4 comments
ChairmanLMAO
senseless? not even a nod to hyperloop? maybe there will be ground based torpedoes when we all live in giant sand crawlers and this research will be priceless?
EZ
To Sugamari--I like it (your comment).
Douglas Bennett Rogers
I think they have built a ground-skimmer mlssile!
Daishi
At those speeds gravity is irrelevant. They are essentially just flying at ground level. It is a plane without wings. If an SR-71 blackbird has a long enough runway and didn't pull up wouldn't it count as a land speed record as long as the landing gear never breaks contact with the ground? Outside of that if money were no object a maglev train in a vacuum hyperloop tunnel may be able to hit 1,000 MPH too. Bloodhound is shockingly impressive engineering but if you are going to achieve flight anyway why bother doing it so close to the ground?