World Land Speed Record holder Andy Green says the Bloodhound SSC group is aiming to complete construction of its 1,000mph car by the end of 2012.
Green (LEFT), a wing commander in the Royal Air Force, is the first – and, to date, only – man to have broken the sound barrier on land when he achieved an average speed of 763.005mph in Bloodhound's predecessor, Thrust SSC. He intends to extend that mark by piloting Blodhound SSC, which was built with the aim of exceeding 1,000mph.
Richard Noble, the previous land speed record holder, will once again head the project, which was formally announced in 2008.
"We've spent five years in the design phase and we've got a clear 1,000mph-potential car," Andy Green explained at the Autosport International motorsports show in Birmingham, England. "This is the year we build it and put it on its wheels – a very, very exciting time.
"We have finished the exact aerodynamic design, so we know the exact shape of the car down to how high the nose will be from the ground. This year we have also picked up Rolex as a sponsor, so we're on a more sound financial footing.
"By early next year it will be a car, and by the middle of the year we will be driving it up and down on runways and testing it up to 200mph. "Then we will fly out to South Africa, where they have already cleared – by hand – 10 million square meters of track so far. They now have to clear the safety zone on either side, in case the car goes off line, of another 12 million square meters. So our first world record is going to be on the largest surface on earth, cleared by hand."
Green said the current interest in the car, and the prospect of several rivals across the world, represented something of a golden period for land speed.
"It's a golden age right now for the land speed record, as we have four of five other teams around the world, from America, Australia and New Zealand. There is a huge global competition going on, but Bloodhound is really well placed – we've got the most advanced design.
"A fast car in this hall is 200mph; a fast car for us is 1,000mph – 25 times the aerodynamic load, 25 times the load through the suspension. Here a powerful car has 1,000hp; for us it's 133,000. We're using a Formula 1 engine just to drive the pump for the rocket motor.
"This is also an engineering venture; we're doing it to try and inspire the next generation about science engineering. We have 4,870 schools – close to 2,000,000 students – across the UK signed up and they are looking at technology through the lens of Bloodhound.
"That's how we're making science real for them. The 1,000mph target is a reach out to technology and to get schools around the world inspired."