Land speed record attempts haven't drawn as much attention and innovation as they used to over the past decade. The current record, set in 1997 at 763mph (1,227km/h), is impressive, but it's stood for nearly 12 years without serious threat - until now, that is. A team from Britain today launched the Bloodhound Project to spawn a new car that they think is capable of 1,050mph (1,690km/h) under a combination of rocket, jet and piston power.

The team is the same pair of men that set the record last time around, Andy Green and Richard Noble. The 14,100lb (6.4 metric ton) beast is designed to blast its 42ft (12.8m) length to full speed in under 40 seconds - simply being in the general vicinity of the vehicle as it generates this much energy is likely to be a life-changing experience.

Rated at almost 130,000hp (about 97,000kW), the combination drivetrain employs a 25,000lb jet engine as its primary source of locomotion. Once at speed the 2.95ft (900mm) wheels will spin at 10,000rpm - requiring some very special tires and finely balanced wheels to keep from tearing the machine apart. And that's just a sampling of the technical hurdles the project faces.

"This is going to be a huge challenge starting right now," said Green. "We’ve got a lot of technical challenges and the geographical challenges of trying to find somewhere to run this car. We’ve also got a financial challenge."

Financial backing will come in part from the government, but the team also hopes to share some of the work with UK universities as a way to boost interest in engineering while getting some top-quality work at no cost. Another potential fund raiser will be allowing the public to view the car's assembly at the Filton, UK site where it will be built over the next four years.


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