After the Bloodhound Land Speed Record project was brought back from the dead last December, the team quickly completed development of their supersonic car and shipped it down to the Hakskeenpan in South Africa’s Kalahari Desert for the first high-speed test, which concluded on Sunday.
While the ultimate goal is to beat the current land speed record for a steerable car, a speed of 763 mph set by British fighter pilot Andy Green in 1997, for the first test the team only aimed to hit 500 mph. Instead, they hit 628 mph, with Green once again behind the wheel.
For this speed, the Bloodhound LSR relied solely on a jet power. To go even faster, the 44.3-foot streamliner will employ a rocket. The team will use data from this first test to calculate the drag experienced by the car on each run, which is critical in determining the size of the rocket needed to surpass the record.
The jet engine is a Rolls-Royce EJ200 normally found in the Eurofighter Typhoon. Norwegian rocket expert Nammo is developing a monopropellant rocket that will produce the additional kick the Bloodhound LSR needs. The EJ200 generates 20,000 pounds of thrust, which is roughly equal to 54,000 horsepower. The rocket will need to add six times that amount to break the record.
If all goes to plan, the team will aim for the record and possibly the 1,000-mph-mark in about 12-18 months.
“The stability and confidence the car gives me as a driver is testament to the years of world class engineering that has been invested in her by team members past and present,” Green said. “With all the data generated by reaching 628 mph, we’re in a great position to focus on setting a new world land speed record in the next year or so.”