The fastest race car in the history of humankind rolled out for the first time in public on Thursday 26 October 2017 – the Bloodhound SSC (supersonic car) reached speeds of 321.8km/h (200mph) on the Cornwall Airport Newquay runway in the United Kingdom.
The Bloodhound SSC aims to set a new world land-speed record of 1 000mph (1 600km/hr).
The project is part of an ongoing partnership between South Africa and the UK, with several tests being run at Hakskeen Pan in the Northern Cape since 2009.
The Bloodhound SSC team has been using Hakskeen Pan, which is over 19km long, as the ideal testing location for the supersonic car.
The team is aiming to break the world land-speed record at Hakskeen Pan in the near future. The Bloodhound SSC has both the South African and UK flags in its design, to symbolise the country of the project (the UK) and where the record attempt will be made (South Africa).
This October, Bloodhound SSC driver Andy Green celebrated the 20th anniversary of becoming the first person to break the sound barrier in a car. He is also responsible for setting the current land-speed record of 763.035mph (1 227.98km/h).
15 October 2017 marked the 20th anniversary of Thrust SSC – driven by Green – setting the world land-speed record. The precursor to Bloodhound SSC, Thrust SSC validated early computational fluid dynamics (CFD), a technique that was instrumental in designing the current car. Many of the team responsible for Thrust SSC are now working on the Bloodhound project, including Richard Noble, Green and Ron Ayers.
Thursday’s event at Cornwall Airport Newquay – which was live-streamed globally – featured two runway trials, with the Bloodhound SSC performing smoothly on each test run, powering through and even emitting engine flames during acceleration. Following a slick process from start to finish, the Bloodhound SSC is ready for its return to South Africa.
The event tested the car’s steering, brakes, suspension and data systems, as well as the efficiency of the intake feeding air to the EJ200 jet engine, sourced from a Eurofighter Typhoon. The tests also provided Green with his first opportunity to drive the car. Months of testing have allowed the Bloodhound team and Green to develop the car’s operating procedures, refine the safety protocols, and practise radio communications.
The dynamic testing of the Bloodhound SSC at Newquay went even better than hoped, with the car delivering outstanding performances. Notably, the jet-air intake – a key piece of the car’s design – functions far better at slow speeds than expected, so the Bloodhound SSC is able to accelerate faster than predicted (0-200mph or 321.8km/hr in under eight seconds, accelerating at 1.5g).
The year 2018 will see the team conduct more high-speed runs at Hakskeen Pan, with details to be announced soon.
For more information, visit the official Bloodhound website.