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1000mph Bloodhound speed record car to begin initial velocity tests in October

Autocar logo Autocar 2017-06-12

With the world’s fastest man of the past 20 years, Wing Commander Andy Green, at the wheel for the first time

With the world’s fastest man of the past 20 years, Wing Commander Andy Green, at the wheel for the first time
© Autocar

Bloodhound, Britain’s 1000mph world land speed record challenger, will begin initial speed tests in the UK on 26 October, with the world’s fastest man of the past 20 years, Wing Commander Andy Green, at the wheel for the first time. 

Green and his team plan to run the jet and rocket-powered car at up to 200mph powered by its EJ200 Eurofighter engine on the main runway at Newquay Airport, Cornwall. The start-up programme will include educational and public days, for which tickets can be bought online.

The October test programme will come after a month of tie-down tests designed to prove the car’s steering, brakes, suspension, data systems and electronics. 

Related: Bloodhound set to be the fastest land vehicle of all time (Barcroft TV)

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If tests on Newquay’s 1.7-mile runway are successful, Bloodhound will be shipped to its specially prepared 11-mile track at Hakskeen Pan, in the north western South Africa, for the first of two high speed campaigns. At the first, backers hope to beat 800mph, beating Green’s previous mark (set in 1997 with Thrust SSC) of 763.065mph.  

The following year, the Bloodhound crew will add extra rocket motors and treble the power to set a 1000mph land speed record, the project’s ultimate objective. 

“Our first target at Newquay will be first to make sure all systems are working properly,” says chief engineer Mark Chapman, “and then to run tests to decide the speed at which we can apply full throttle. Jet engine intakes are designed to work best at speed, and there’s a threshold at which they can accept full throttle. It’s important to know it because it affects how much track you use up before the car can start accelerating in earnest.”

Project director Richard Noble, himself a former land speed record holder, calls the Newquay runway trials “the biggest milestone in the history of the project so far”, because they provide the team with its first opportunity to rehearse the procedures the team will use for its serious record runs.

If tests on Newquay’s 1.7-mile runway are successful, Bloodhound will be shipped to its specially prepared 11-mile track at Hakskeen Pan, in the north western South Africa © Autocar If tests on Newquay’s 1.7-mile runway are successful, Bloodhound will be shipped to its specially prepared 11-mile track at Hakskeen Pan, in the north western South Africa Noble says the Bloodhound team also see the runway trials as a way of thanking the schools, students, families and companies who have supported their project, which stalled for almost a year for lack of finance until the Chinese automotive conglomerate Geely — owner of Volvo, London Taxi and now Lotus and Proton — agreed to become Bloodhound’s “lead partner” and to finance the 1000mph project to its conclusion.  

The exact speed Bloodhound achieves at Newquay will depend on its ability to stop, says Mark Chapman. For the first tests, the car will be equipped with carbon disc brakes and wheels with Dunlop rubber tyres from an English Electric Lightning fighter aircraft, but for the higher speed runs — during which the wheels will turn at up to 10,200rpm or 170 times a second — it will have solid aluminium wheels, because rubber tyres would never hold together. 

At that speed, says Chapman, a one kilogram bag of sugar would weigh 50 tonnes. When Bloodhound’s full power (the equivalent of 180 F1 cars) is deployed, the car is designed to go from zero to 60mph in less than a second, reaching 1000mph in 55 seconds.

Spectators planning to attend Bloodhound’s public days must purchase tickets, which are available at bloodhoundssc.yourticketbooking.com. Numbers are limited.

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