Brits go for the biggie

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By Robert Harland


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

THE 116-year history of land speed records has been dominated by the British. The record has been broken 57 times, 26 by a Briton behind the wheel.

And now the Brits are after a real biggie.

British daredevil and Royal Air Force pilot Andy Green, who reached 763.05 mph in October 1997 driving the Thrust SSC (supersonic car), now has his eyes on the 1,000 mph mark (I,609 kph).


And to get him there, a new machine called the Bloodhound SSC, will employ both jet and rocket power, as well as specially-constructed steel wheels.

Bloodhound took 10,000 man hours to build and costs so far are around ten million British pounds (P750 million).

The Bloodhound team will do the car's first test runs in August 2015, up to speeds of 200 mph (321 kph). After that, the team will travel to South Africa, where testing will go up to speeds of 800 mph later that year. The team will then return to South Africa in the summer of 2016 to try to reach the 1,000 mph speed.

The project was announced in 2008 by Lord Drayson, then British Minister of Science in the UK's Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. In 2006 the department first proposed the project to Richard Noble and Andy Green - the two men, between them, have held the land speed record for 29 years.

Green will lie feet-first in the Bloodhound. As the car accelerates from 0 to 1,000 mph in 42 seconds, he will experience a force of approximately 2.5g.

A prototype Eurojet engine developed for the Europfighter will take the car to 300 mph (480 kph), after which a bespoke hybrid rocket will boost the car up to 1,000 miles per hour.

A third engine, a 750 hp (560 kW) 2.4 Liter Cosworth CA2010 F1 V8 gas engine will be used as an auxiliary power unit and to drive the oxidiser pump for the rocket.

Altogether, it will generate as much power as the combined total of 95 Formula One cars.

To slow the vehicle, Green will deploy air brakes at 800 mph (1,300 kph), and subsequently parachute at 600 mph (970 kph), with disc brakes used below 250 mph (400 kph).

Last month driver Andy Green unveiled Bloodhound's state-of-the-art cockpit, which looks more like something out of a sci-fi spaceship than a car.

The whole thing has been sculpted specifically to fit Green; even the steering wheel was printed from powdered titanium to match the shape of his hands perfectly.

The heart of the setup is the center screen that acts as a speedometer and thrust gauge for the engines. It's amazing how much work and engineering is going into this project.

Interestingly, the Bloodhound Project is first and foremost an education program designed to inspire future generations to take up careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by showcasing these subjects in the most exciting way possible.

The education program covers all phases and ages of education from primary to secondary and further education, plus Bloodhound@University.

Any school, teacher, youth group or home educated family in the world can register their details on the BLOODHOUND SSC website ( and download the free curriculum resource materials. Hundreds of schools throughout the world are following the project.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 09, 2014.


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