Bloodhound LSR Is On Track For Its 500mph High-Speed Test Runs
After numerous obstacles, the Bloodhound Land Speed Record car is finally ready to enter its next phase of testing, which will involve high-speed runs on a specially prepared strip in the Hakskeenpan desert in South Africa. Scheduled to take place from mid-October to mid-November, Bloodhound will gradually increase its speed in 50mph increments over 13 runs to reach a projected 500mph.
Powering this road-bound missile is an EJ200 Rolls-Royce jet engine that usually does duty in the Eurofighter Typhoon. It produces 9 tonnes of thrust with its afterburner engaged, which is comparable to approximately 54,000 thrust horsepower, or 100 McLaren 540Cs. When the time comes in 12 to 18 months time to break the existing land speed record (Set by Thrust SSC in 1997 at 763.035mph), a monopropellant rocket system will be used to boost the power output even further.
Bloodhound CEO Ian Warhurst explained, “I’ve really enjoyed watching the team rise to the challenge over these past six months. Our fantastic new location in the center of a technical college at UTC Berkeley has really helped the project come alive—the project is now in new territory. It’s also very important to remember that the team in South Africa have also risen to the challenge. After so much work and several false starts, the Northern Cape Provincial Government didn’t hesitate to re-engage and have worked quickly and efficiently to help us finalize agreements and then mobilize the local workforce.”
Getting Bloodhound to South Africa is a logistical and technical challenge all in itself and it will be running on 198 pound solid aluminum discs specially balanced and calibrated to account for the desert surface. At 500mph they will be merely skimming the surface, acting more as rudders than wheels.
Current World Land Speed Record holder, Andy Green has until now only taken the Bloodhound up to 200mph at Cornwall Airport. The vast expanse of the Hakskeenpan desert will allow him to reach the much higher speeds needed to see how the many complex systems respond.
The results from this real-world high-speed test will allow the team to compare their own predicted Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models to the real data and make adjustments for the final record-breaking attempt. Even without the aid of the rocket system, Bloodhound still has the potential to become one of the 10 fastest cars of all time. We wish the Bloodhound team all the best for what is one of the most exciting and challenging tasks in history.
Images courtesy of Bloodhound LSR