The Bloodhound Supersonic Car has had one hell of a rough time these past few years. Aiming to be the first car to hit 1,000 mph, the whole operation went into administration before being saved by entrepreneur Ian Warhurst. It’s now been renamed the Bloodhound LSR (after Land Speed Record), and the machine is actually heading out for its first runs since it was brought back to life.
It’ll be heading to South Africa later this month to start making test runs at the dry lake bed of Hakskeen Pan, Racer reports. This isn’t the full 1,000 mph run quite yet—the team is only aiming for 500 mph as a way to ease back into things. The big record-breaking run is scheduled for the tail end of 2020 and into 2022—if all goes well.
Here’s more testing strategy from the article:
Testing is set to begin in mid-October, with Royal Air Force pilot Andy Green at the wheel, and will continue in November. Thirteen runs are planned, each 50 mph faster than the next, with a target of hitting over 500 mph. That’s a hell of a lot faster than the Bloodhound’s first test, a 200-mph run on a British runway undertaken in October, 2017.
This test poses a unique challenge. The pneumatic tires used for the 2017 test will be replaced by solid aluminum discs, which eliminate the possibility of a blowout, but these tires won’t provide much grip. In fact, the Bloodhound team said in a press release that between 300 and 500 mph “[t]he grip from the wheels will fade faster than the aerodynamic forces build up, so this is likely to be the point where the car is at its least stable.”
That is actually kind of genuinely terrifying. While being the first person to hit 1,000 mph sounds cool in theory, there’s a reason why no one has done it yet. Our technology isn’t quite up to par just yet. It’ll be interesting to follow the results of the test and see what new changes are made.
(And as a sidenote, Andy Green’s blogs on the Bloodhound site are super fascinating. He dives into a lot of technical details in a way that makes sense for even the least engineering-minded people, and he offers just a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at some of the emotions that go through your head when you’re about to be the fastest man alive.)
During this test, the whole point is mostly to just gather data. The Bloodhound will be powered by a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine, which will be enough to crest the 500 mph mark. When the actual record-breaking attempts start taking place, the team will include a rocket propellant system to push the EJ200 well above its natural limits.
It’s awesome to see this project get back on the rails and back in action. It’ll be interesting to see just what the final results will be on this initial test.