Most of us have taken a car above the ton. Some of us have taken a car to VMax, usually an economy car of some sort that tops out just over the triple digit mark. A lucky few of us have touched 200, usually having spent lots of money to get there. A rarefied few have driven anything with wheels above 250. To reach 334 is astonishingly fast to most mere mortals, but for the Bloodhound and Andy Green it’s just the beginning.
This pair are slowly testing their way toward breaking the 1000 mph barrier. The current record belongs to Green himself, a 760 mph run set back in 1997.
In the long road toward the big number attempt the Bloodhound team have taken the machine down to South Africa to test it on a long flat section of hard packed desert. The first run was a quick jaunt up to 200 mph to test the functionality of the brakes. The second run was a coast down from 334 to test rolling resistance.
The team also wanted to test how the supersonic car handled with side-wind. At the 4:41 mark in the video, you can see a not insubstantial correction of the steering wheel as the car is blown several feet off the middle line. Green later commented that he didn’t ever want to drive the car in winds this strong ever again. I don’t blame him.
Aside from a few wind-induced wiggles, the whole run seems very quick and mostly serene. It’s very quiet inside Green’s helmet, which makes sense as most of the loud stuff is several feet behind him and pointing the noisy fiery bits rearward.
Watching the video, it’s astonishing how horrible the radio communications are. They’re impossible to understand. How is it that, 118 years after the first transatlantic radio signal, a voice broadcast from a really fast car half a mile away sounds like Darth Vader speaking Vietnamese recorded into a TalkBoy and played through the speaker of an original GameBoy? I didn’t understand a single word.