A new bid to break the world Land Speed Record gathered momentum with the announcement of the specifications for the planned Bloodhound SSC project, based in Bristol, England. The car has gone through 10 design evolutions since October 2008 and the final design has now been agreed. Bloodhound SSC's first attempts at the record, which currently stands at 763mph, will take place on the Hakskeen Pan in Northern Cape Province of South Africa in 2011.
The car is powered by an EJ200 Eurofighter Typhoon jet engine and a rocket engine sitting below it. Bloodhound SSC produces the equivalent of 133,150hp, the power of around 180 Formula 1 cars!
In the original plan, a 200kg (441lb) rocket sat above the jet engine, but not enough thrust could be created to overcome the aerodynamic drag. This led to a 400kg (882lb) rocket being used – but this caused the car to pitch nose-down, destabilizing the vehicle. Engineers found the best compromise to be positioning the rocket below the jet engine.
The car's 3ft-diameter wheels have been made from forged aerospace-grade aluminum to withstand the g-forces required of supporting a 7.3-ton car traveling at 1,050mph. The car will be driven by fighter pilot Andy Green and he has designed the cockpit himself.
One of the project's greatest challenges has been finding a place suitable for the car to make its record attempt. The site needs to be 10 miles long and must have one mile of clear run-off at each end and be firm enough to support the weight of the car. Several locations, including the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, were sounded out using Google Earth.
Hakskeen Pan was eventually found to be the best site; it is a 12-mile track across a perfectly flat dried-up lake. The record attempt is being supported by the Northern Cape Government.
So far, 166 sponsors have signed up to support the project. Public donations in the UK have also totaled more than $227,000, while 2,410 schools have joined the project as part of their education program.