Remember Thrust SSC? The monster jet engine-powered ground vehicle that set a blistering land speed record of 763.035 mph (1227.9 km/h) in 1997 is being succeeded by a new generation of speed. The Bloodhound LSR at its full design speed should be capable of breaching the 1000 mph barrier attaining about 1050 mph (1680 km/h) or 4.5 football fields per second or 150 metres in the blink of an eye. The team behind the Bloodhound LSR say that it is a combination of a fast jet, an F1 car, and a spaceship.
Just yesterday, in fact, the Bloodhound LSR passed a milestone on its path to the ultimate speed hitting 334 mph (537 km/h) on the Hakskeenpan desert race track - the highest it has done so far. The team had laid out three 'run profiles' - starting at 100 mph, building to 200 mph and now 334 mph. The car’s EJ200 jet engine ran with full reheat (a.k.a. afterburner) for 12 seconds, demonstrating it is in full working order.
Run Profile 3 marked the beginning of the high-speed test programme, as all systems necessary for running with reheat have now been tested and checked. The car’s speed will be built up in 50 mph increments over subsequent run profiles, carried out over the next four weeks, with a target top speed above 500 mph for this testing programme.
Bloodhound driver and current World Land Speed Record holder Andy Green said: “We’ve had two very successful runs today, with the second run reaching a max speed of 334 mph – going from 50 mph to 300 mph in 13 seconds. There was strong crosswind gusting at over 15 mph and we’ve established that this is pretty much the limit for running in the car. We’re happy because this was a successful test, now we’re ready to progress on to higher speeds.”
The project is now split into two phases. Phase one’s target is to break the world land speed record (currently 763.035 mph / 1,227.9 km/h). This is necessary to understand how the car behaves as it enters the transonic stage initially and then supersonic speed levels. Upon the successful completion of phase one, the team will review the data and technical challenges before embarking on phase two, and the challenge of safely reaching 1,000 mph.
Engine for high-speed testing
The high-speed testing will be conducted using the car’s Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine, normally found in a Eurofighter Typhoon. These engines produce a peak thrust of 20,000 lbs (90 kilonewtons), equivalent to 54,000 thrust hp, or the combined output of 360 family cars.
The solid aluminium wheels have been specially designed for the desert surface. Measuring 900 mm in diameter and weighing 90 kg each, they are designed to spin at up to 10,200 rpm (revolutions per minute) – more than four times faster than wheels on a Formula 1 car at top speed.