In October 2017, twenty years after Andy Green went supersonic in Thrust SSC setting the current World Land Speed Record, Green will attempt to go even faster in the latest challenger: Bloodhound.
The aim this time is to break the 800mph barrier, and could even breach 1000mph. Testing is due to begin in the Hakskeen Pan, in the Northern Cape in South Africa, in the autumn next year. For some context, even 800mph is over three times that of the Bugatti Chiron’s theoretical 261mph top speed.
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Equivalent to 1173 feet per second, Bloodhound would cover the hypothetical football pitch in around a third of a second, and it would reduce the seven-hour drive from London to Edinburgh to around half an hour (50mph zones and middle-lane hogs excepted).
Not that it will do 800mph on its first shakedown run in Newquay in June 2017 – instead, it will positively crawl along at 220mph (that model of automotive tedium, the Pagani Huayra, is a mere 4mph faster).
In the intervening time, Bloodhound’s engineers will strip down the car, documenting the process as they do so to ensure that on the ground in South Africa, they can fix any ailments on-site. At the same time, the team’s rapid response and turnaround crews will have undergone intensive training for the 40-minute turnaround required in order to set a two-way record.
The 13.5-metre long, Rolls-Royce aero engined dart will be air-freighted on a Boeing 747 to Upington in South Africa, then transported to Kakskeen Pan by road.
The speed the team has to beat? 763.035mph, recorded at Black Rock Desert in the United States on October 15, 1997. It was the first Land Speed Record car to break the sound barrier.
Project Director and former Land Speed Record-holder Richard Noble said, ‘This is probably the biggest moment in the Project’s history.
‘Before we could only see financially a few months ahead but now we can put our foot down and really go for it!’