Currently reading: Bloodhound SSC - first supersonic record attempt in October 2017
New funding has enabled Bloodhound team to begin preparations for record breaking run; first proper test run will see the car reach 800mph

The Bloodhound SSC supersonic car will make its first land speed record attempt in October 2017 after new funding has put the project back on track.

The 13.5-metre-long vehicle will first run in June of next year as part of a 220mph test session, before heading to the South African desert in October with the aim of breaking the current land speed record of 763mph. That run, which aims to take the Bloodhound to 800mph, will also be used to gather data for the car’s headline-grabbing 1000mph record attempt in 2018.

“This is probably the biggest moment in the Project’s history," said Project Director Richard Noble. "Before we could only see financially a few months ahead but now we can put our foot down and really go for it.

"We’re in this position thanks to the incredible support of our partners and sponsors, and the dedication and sacrifice of many people, including a skeleton crew who have held the fort and quite literally kept the lights on.

"Most of all it has been the amazing public response that has sustained us. Thousands of children up and down the country are racing Model Rocket Cars and there is tremendous public enthusiasm for the Project wherever we go."

Bloodhound's new partners are due to be announced in the coming months.

The car and its engines

Bloodhound's engineers can now return to the project and begin to dissasemble the so called trial-build car (the first revealed car was a trial fit of all the parts without fluids), and then reassemble the car ahead of its first run, checking everything fits and adding new parts where necessary.

Power for the Bloodhound comes from three sources – with the primary engine being the same Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine that powers the Eurofighter Typhoon. The jet engine will only allow Bloodhound to reach around 650mph, however, at which point the car’s hybrid rocket will be activated, propelling the car to its first target of 800mph.

The driver

Driving Bloodhound SSC will be Andy Green, who already holds the current land speed record – having achieved 763mph in Thrust SSC in 1997. Bloodhound project director Richard Noble – himself a land speed record holder – says both car and driver have been developed together. “Andy is the only person who’s been supersonic in a car," said Noble. "It is highly spectacular, of course. It’s all about human endeavour and human progress.”

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Noble describes stopping Bloodhound as being “the difficult part” of the challenge. “What we have is a low-drag, heavy piece of machinery travelling at 1000mph, so the kinetic energy is huge," he said. "Stopping it is actually more difficult than getting it up to speed.”

When Green reaches 1000mph, he’ll step off the throttle, allowing the car to slowly come down to around 800mph. Then he’ll activate an airbrake that deploys at a measured rate, putting around 3g of braking force through the car.

Once Bloodhound is travelling at less than 600mph, a supersonic parachute – which also acts as a back-up if the main airbrake fails - is deployed, bringing the speed down to 250mph. Once there, Green can then activate the car’s wheel brakes to come to a full stop.

The 36in forged wheels will be spinning at up to 10,200rpm during the car’s fastest runs, bringing the possibility of hidden stones being kicked up and into the car’s bodywork at breakneck speeds. To protect Green, composite ballistic panels developed by Morgan Advanced Technologies have been fitted to the car’s cockpit. The panels have already survived a 2000mph ballistics test to prove their integrity.

The Bloodhound car was first revealed in model form in 2010, with the car's innovative rocket system first tested in 2012.

Anatomy of a land speed record attempt

Driver Andy Green will attempt to break the current land speed record of 763mph in 2016 using Bloodhound SSC. Here’s how he’ll do it.

1 – Green lines up Bloodhound along the 12-mile straight in the South African desert. He’ll engage the Rolls-Royce jet engine and slowly leave the start line.

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2 – One running, Green will activate the jet engine’s afterburner, effectively dumping more fuel into the engine and dramatically increasing thrust. His speed will quickly increase to around 650mph.

3 – Green will activate Bloodhound’s auxiliary power unit, which takes the form of Jaguar’s supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine. The engine starts to pump rocket fuel into the rocket, which then engages with the thrust equivalent of around 2.5G.

4 – Now running close to its maximum speed, Bloodhound passes through the six-mile marker of the course, and Green prepares to slow the car down.

5 – Green shuts down Bloodhound’s engines and steps off the accelerator. The car decelerates to around 800mph.

6 – At below 800mph, Green deploys the car’s airbrakes, which immediately provide around 3g of braking force.

7 – Once below 600mph, supersonic parachutes are deployed, further slowing the car.

8 – When Bloodhound decelerates to under 250mph, Green can then use the car’s wheel brakes to bring Bloodhound to a complete stop. The engineering team then sets about turning the car round and refuelling for its return run.

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