Now that the Bloodhound project is back from the dead, the team has a lot of work ahead of them. Notably, the team behind the newly named Bloodhound Land Speed Record Car will perform their first true high-speed test starting later in October at the Hakskeenpan in South Africa.
The Bloodhound team hit 210 mph in 8.0 seconds and 1.6 miles during the car's first test on an airport strip back in 2017, but a lack of funds meant the project could only progress further at a snail's pace. That changed last December when British businessman Ian Warhurst took over the project.
While the ultimate goal is beating the current land speed record for a steerable car of 763 mph, set by British fighter pilot Andy Green in 1997, for the upcoming test the team will only aim to hit 500 mph. They plan to make multiple runs over a period of about one month, each time increasing the speed by 50 mph.
Specifically, tests will look at how the vehicle performs between 300 mph and 500 mph. Bloodhound said that this is the speed where steering stops guiding the vehicle and aerodynamics take over directional detail. Stability from the wheels, in this case solid aluminum discs, will fall quicker than the aero can take over, so it's important to test the scenario and ensure the transition happens smoothly.
If all goes to plan, the team will aim for the record and possibly the 1,000-mph-mark in about 12-18 months, and Green will once again be handling driving duties.
The Bloodhound LSR packs a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine, normally found in the Eurofighter Typhoon, to get it up to 300 mph. Beyond this speed, the car relies on a cluster of bespoke hybrid rockets developed by defense firm Nammo. The combined output of the 44.3-foot streamliner is a claimed 135,000 horsepower.
Prior to departing to South Africa, the team had to run a “dry crank” test of the jet engine and all related systems. This involves running through the start-up sequence and turning it over without fuel in the system to ensure the engine can be started when it's time for the first test. A separate jet engine called an Air Start Cart is used to create enough compressed air to spin the turbine of the Bloodhound LSR's jet engine to the required speed.
“I’ve really enjoyed watching the team rise to the challenge over these past six months,” said Warhurst, CEO of Bloodhound. “Something which has been talked about and planned for so long is now really happening.”