It was in 2008 that the team behind the Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC) announced the goal to not only tackle the current land speed record of 763.035 mph but to reach the staggeringly high mark of 1,000 mph.
On Thursday, team Bloodhound took a major step toward reaching the goal.
Bloodhound's 44.3-foot streamliner, with current record holder Andy Green behind the wheel, went from a standstill to 210 mph in just 8.0 seconds. The run, which took place on a 1.7-mile long runway in the United Kingdom, was the team’s first public test ahead of the eventual record attempt tentatively scheduled for the second half of 2018.
“I discovered during the initial dynamic tests that to get the car to 200mph, I would have to take my foot off the throttle at 130 mph as it then carries on accelerating for another 2.0 seconds,” Green said after the run. “And then to slow down, I need to apply gentle pressure to the brakes for 2.0 seconds to warm up the carbon fiber disk brakes before applying full force on the brakes to stop the car.”
Green would have felt forces of 1.5 g during the run which marked the culmination of a month of tests and was the first opportunity to prove the car’s steering, brakes, suspension and data systems, as well as its jet engine. If you recall, the Bloodhound SSC relies on a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine normally found in the Eurofighter Typhoon to get it up to around 300 mph.
To go even faster, it features a cluster of bespoke hybrid rockets developed by defense firm Nammo. Tucked away inside is also a Jaguar V-8 whose sole job is to pump a hydrogen peroxide oxidizer into the rocket. The combined output of the SSC is said to be 135,000 horsepower.
Bloodhound will conduct a series of similar tests in early 2018 before heading to the Hakskeen Pan in South Africa in the second half of 2018 to attempt 800 mph and claim the land speed record. The team will then go back to the U.K. to review the data before returning to South Africa with the aim of reaching 1,000 mph.
Hitting those speeds isn’t the only goal for everyone involved at Bloodhound. Alongside the project, members from team Bloodhound Project are supplying lesson plans for teachers in the hopes that it will give context or inspiration for students studying the sciences and math-related fields—and future generations of engineers.