Pictures: The Bloodhound Project via Facebook.
Pictures: The Bloodhound Project via Facebook.
Pictures: The Bloodhound Project via Facebook.
Pictures: The Bloodhound Project via Facebook.
Pictures: The Bloodhound Project via Facebook.
Pictures: The Bloodhound Project via Facebook.

HAKSKEEN PAN - The Bloodhound Land Speed Record team have ended the current testing phase in the Northern Cape with a bang, achieving a new top speed of 1010km/h over the weekend as they gradually work towards breaking the current World Land Speed Record of 1228km/h.

Driver Andy Green, who also holds the aforementioned record, rolled the supersonic car off the line in ‘max dry’ mode, meaning there were no flames visible out the back, and proceeded to 80km/h, after which he put pedal to metal and pushed the car to its maximum velocity in just 50 seconds. Green lifted the throttle at 989km/h, stabilising the car before deploying a parachute to slow it to a halt at the 11km mark.

Following the run, Green said: “This morning we had the perfect conditions for a high speed run; cool temperatures and virtually no wind. After a slick start procedure from the team, the car handled superbly once again.

“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. With all the data generated by reaching 1010km/h, we’re in a great position to focus on setting a new world land speed record in the next year or so.”

The numerous runs conducted over the last four weeks, in which the speeds were increased in small increments, allowed the team to examine how much drag the car creates in numerous scenarios and at various speeds, while data from almost 200 pressure sensors was monitored. The drag data will be crucial in determining the size of the rocket engine that will be fitted to the car for the new land speed record, which is expected to take place in 12 to 18 months from now.

During the final run, the airflow beneath the car went supersonic and even stripped the paint from an area three metres behind the front wheels.

While the 9kN of thrust that the jet engine generates (which is equivalent to about 40 000kW) is not enough to break the current land speed record, Norwegian rocket specialist Nammo is currently developing a monopropellant rocket that will produce the additional thrust needed to break the record.

Bloodhound LSR owner Ian Warhurst said: “Our speed objective for these tests was to reach 1000km/h. Hitting 1010km/h is a real milestone and shows just what the team and the car can achieve.

“With the high speed testing phase concluded, we will now move our focus to identifying new sponsors and the investment needed to bringing Bloodhound back out to Hakskeen Pan in the next 12 to 18 months’,” he added.

“Not only am I immensely proud of the team, I’m also delighted that we’ve been able to demonstrate that the car is eminently capable of setting a new world land speed record.”

The Bloodhound team also took time to thank the Northern Cape government and the members of the Mier community, who painstakingly removed 16 500 tonnes of rock from 22 million square metres of dry lake bed to ensure smooth runs for the Bloodhound.

IOL Motoring