On October 15, 1997, British Wing Commander Andy Green set the current land speed record when he reached 760mph in ThrustSSC. Over 20 years later, he will be making the first public tests of a car designed to go over 1000mph. You can watch the event via the livestream video below.
On a runway at Newquay airport, UK, Green and his team will be putting the Bloodhound SSC through initial “slow-speed” trials in preparation for a new attempt at a land speed record in 2019. The last record was set in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, but this next run will take place on a specially prepared 11-mile track in a dried-out lakebed at Hakskeen Pan, South Africa. It’s hoped that the car will initially break the 800mph barrier, before ultimately reaching the goal of 1000mph.
"We've designed and built the most extraordinary, sophisticated, high-performance land speed record car in history. It will do 0-200mph in about eight seconds. For a five-tonne vehicle - that's eye-popping performance," Green told the BBC.
9 years in development, the Bloodhound uses an EJ200 Typhoon fighter jet engine. The public tests will evaluate its steering, brakes, suspension, air intake, and electronics systems. A Norwegian rocket motor, fuelled by a Jaguar V8 engine, will be added next year to treble the car’s power.
As the tests will see the Bloodhound traveling at relatively slow speeds, it will use refurbished rubber Dunlop tires from 1960s English Electric Lightning jet fighters. For the record attempt, all-aluminum discs will be used instead—a requirement for wheels turning at over 10,200rpm, or 170 revolutions per second.
Technical difficulties and financial problems have resulted in a number of delays over the years, but things improved after Chinese car manufacturer Geely stepped in to become the project’s “lead partner.”
Chief engineer Mark Chapman said that at the Bloodhound’s top speeds, a 1kg (2.2 Ibs) bag of sugar would weigh 50 tonnes, and that the car's full power will be equivalent to 180 Formula one vehicles.