Newquay, Cornwall - The Bloodhound Supersonic Car, effectively a fighter jet on wheels, has kicked off its bid to roar into the record books by eventually reaching 1610km/h.
Before a crowd of spectators, the long-nosed, high-tailed blue and orange spacecraft-like vehicle made two test runs down a 2.7 kilometre track, reaching 322km/h in about nine seconds.
It was the first public trial of the Bloodhound, powered by an EJ200 jet engine from a Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet, ahead of a world record bid in South Africa in the next few years.
Twenty years after setting the current world land speed record of 1220km/h in the Bloodhound's predecessor, Royal Air Force pilot Andy Green will aim to surpass his achievement.
'Bloodhound is Go!'
"We came here to say Bloodhound is Go! And that's exactly what we managed to demonstrate today," Green said after the test run in Newquay in the southwest of England. "The performance, the handling, the stability of it - I can't fault the car at all, it just worked brilliantly."
The Bloodhound project was launched in 2008 in London with the objective of designing a car able to reach a speed of 1000 miles per hour (1610km/h). About £30 million (R555 million) has been invested in the project thanks to support from the public and sponsors including Chinese auto group Geely and Rolls-Royce among others - but the overall price tag could reach twice that.
If the 13 metre-long vehicle achieves its target 1610km/h, that would surpass the low-altitude speed record for aircraft of 1590km/h, according to the Bloodhound project website. At 1610km/h, it would cover a distance equivalent to more than four football pitches every second.