Ready to shatter the world land speed record to bits, the fastest car makes it grand entry, with a speed of 1,000mph. This mean machine is the work of British engineers who have kept it under wraps until now and have been working under cover for the past 18 months.
The ferocious “Bloodhound SSC,” named after the supersonic air defense missiles of the cold war, is getting all ready to break the current world record by a huge margin of 250mph.
The initial studies have shown how grand this challenge would be. It is easier to understand the speed of the car if it is compared to a bullet. The Bloodhound SSC (Super Sonic Car) is 12.8m long, 6.4 tonnes, and at 1.050mph, is faster than a bullet fired from a handgun. The wheels are expected to spin so fast, that in order to prevent them from flying away they are being made from high-quality titanium.
The research team’s secret operations were being run from an aircraft hangar in Bristol. The team has the backing of Lord Drayson, the science minister in the British government who also happens to be a racing driver. He has proposed this project in a great attempt to inspire new scientists and engineers, who are in extremely short supply in UK.
The project also has Andy Green, a former RAF pilot who made history when he went behind the steering of Thrust SSC in 1997 and drove at 763mph to set the current land speed record. Now, Andy intends to drive this car that has the potential of reaching an amazing speed of 1,000mph.
The team has plans of unveiling the car within an year, and expect it to be ready to attempt for the record in three years time, in 2011. According to Project leader, Richard Noble, “This is one of the most exciting things you can do on God’s Earth; and when you’ve the opportunity to do it really, really well, with the latest technology, you can’t resist the challenge.”
The most interesting thing about this car and the reason it can achieve such high speeds is because it uses a jet engine. An accelerator will be used to power the jet engine up to speeds of about 350mph and then a solid rocket booster will be fired. When that is done, the racing car engine will pump hydrogen peroxide into the booster (more than a tonne), forcing the car to go at 1,000mph in 20 seconds.
With the backing of the Science Minister, the problem of funds has been taken care of and $16 million is easy to come by. His role has also ensured they have the main component, the engines. A Eurojet EJ200 fighter jet engine has been donated to the Bloodhound project. The Ministry of Defense is helping by lending engines that have been used in the flight development programme for the Typhoon. Since these test engines cannot be used for combat anymore, but they have plenty of working time left in them to be able to power the Bloodhound.
Inspiration seems to be the key ingredient that’s pushing this project. Andy Green acknowledges that it is risky, but he says “This is worth making a risk for because it’s a huge challenge and a huge prize at the end, not just for the biggest record but to inspire the next generation of engineers, to share it with every schoolchild in the country.”
With the work of designing is in progress, a search is also on for the location for the attempt. A full-scale mock-up of this supersonic car will be created soon at the University of the West of England. Swansea University is helping with the aerodynamics research. The effort and the money that is being put in to this project is being widely appreciated and there are many eyes on this, including that of the government that is keenly watching the progress.