Bloodhound SSC (supersonic car), the car built to attempt to break the world land speed record at the Hakskeen Pan in SA, made its first public runs in the UK, hitting a peak speed of 201mph (323km/h). The successful test was live streamed around the world and came 20 years after driver Wing Commander Andy Green set the current World Land Speed Record of 763.035mph (1 228km/h).
Spectators gathered to watch the team conduct two runs along the 2.7km runway in Newquay, southwest England. Bloodhound accelerated at a rate of 1.5G, reaching 322km/h from a standing start in just eight seconds. Power was provided by a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine, normally found in a Eurofighter Typhoon, which produced a peak thrust of 90 kilonewtons, equivalent to the combined output of 360 family cars.
On completing the test, Green said: “The design and engineering team has done an incredible job with Bloodhound SSC. There is development work still to do, but straight out of the box it feels responsive, stable and tremendously fast.
“Although 200mph is far below the car’s ultimate target of 1 000mph (1 609km/h), today was a proper workout for the vehicle. The car is designed for high speed on a desert rather than sprint performance off the line, but it still accelerates from zero to 200mph in less than eight seconds. Stopping a slippery, five tonne car, running on low-grip aircraft tyres, within a limited space, is also a challenge, particularly as the car continues accelerating for several seconds after I lift off the throttle.
“We have built up to this over the past few weeks, but the performance today was still slightly astonishing. Bloodhound SSC is already performing like a thoroughbred racing car, supported by a brilliant engineering team.
“When we run on the dry lake bed at Hakskeen Pan, SA, Bloodhound SSC will be running on solid aluminium wheels with even less grip than we had here. Data from today’s tests, including jet engine performance, aerodynamic stability and the braking distances, will help us plan our campaign.”
The runway trials mark the culmination of a month of testing which has helped prove the car’s steering, brakes, suspension, data systems and other functions, as well as the integration of the EJ200 jet engine. The tests also provided Green with his first opportunity to drive the car, and allowed the team to develop its operating procedures and safety protocols, and practice radio communications.
On the runway, the car used 84cm diameter wheels shod with pneumatic tyres, originally from an English Electric Lightning fighter. Specially reconditioned by Dunlop, they have about one third of the grip of regular car tyres. As the runway wheels are slightly thicker than their desert equivalents, some sections of the carbon fibre bodywork were not fitted to the car during the tests.
Chief engineer Mark Chapman said: “The Newquay tests have gone better than anyone dared hope and that is testament to years of research and design. It is a one-off prototype with more than 3 500 bespoke parts, so to see it performing so well today is hugely satisfying.” – BD Motor News (Pic: www.bloodhoundssc.com)