Faster than a speeding bullet: UK team sets sights on new world land speed record
October 24, 2008 Current and former record holders Andy Green OBE and Richard Noble OBE are joining forces in an effort to set a new world land speed mark. The current record of 763 mph (slightly under 1228 km/h) was achieved by Green in the twin turbofan jet-powered ThrustSSC twelve years ago, but the new project, dubbed BLOODHOUND, is aiming to obliterate that figure with a 1000mph (Mach 1.4) bid planned for 2011 - an astounding goal which would also exceed the low altitude speed record for aircraft and be faster than a bullet fired from a handgun.
The project will approach its goal incrementally beginning with an 800mph bid next year followed by a 900mph run in 2010 and tackling the 1000mph challenge in 2011.
Noble will be the project's team leader and Green will take the driver's seat as he did with ThrustSSC.
As you may expect, the vehicle being developed to attempt this feat is not the sort of car that's likely to pull up next to you at the traffic lights. The 12.8m long, 6,422kg (fueled) BLOODHOUND supersonic car (SSC) will combine jet and rocket power to accelerate from 0 – 1,050mph in 40 seconds. At maximum velocity, its carbon fiber bodywork will be subjected to air-pressure of more than twelve tonnes per square meter and its 900mm diameter wheels will spin at over 10,000rpm, generating 50,000 radial G at the rim. The jet and hybrid rocket configuration has been chosen to provide a mix of raw power (the rocket) and controllability (the Eurojet EJ200) that will enable speeds to be carefully increased.
The car which will be developed in public view at the team’s Bristol headquarters. It is hoped that the project will engender broad interest in aerodynamics, computational fluid dynamics, materials technology, engine efficiency and other research fields, and an on-site schools visitor center will be opened to meet these educational goals.
“I’ve met graduate engineers who are adamant that our previous record was what inspired their career choice as youngsters: that sort of thing makes all the effort worthwhile", said Andy Green OBE. "BLOODHOUND SSC will be so much faster and, we hope, will fire up every school kid about the science and technology. We’re going to invite everyone to follow our adventure in this, the most exciting and extreme form of motorsport – the World Land Speed Record. Both as a Mathematician, and as a Royal Air Force fighter pilot, I can’t think of anything better.”
There's no confirmation of a venue for the record attempt at this stage, but Black Rock Desert in Nevada where Green set the current record is one possibility.
The BLOODHOUND project's major sponsor, engine fuel additive company STP, also has a strong heritage in the field having sponsored Athol Graham in 1959 as well as Art Arfons, who set successive World Land Speed Records (reaching 576mph) behind the wheel of "The Green Monster" in the 1960’s at the Bonneville Salt Flats, USA.