Richard Noble and Andy Green are after the Land Speed Record again with their new Bloodhound SSC project and there is a huge temptation to say: ‘So what!’
They’ll be breaking a record they already hold and the only plausible challenger anywhere on the horizon died in Steve Fossett’s plane wreck. And as for 1050mph? It has a certain numerical resonance in the UK and US but in most other countries of the world, it is entirely meaningless.
Yet I can feel already the excitement welling up in me about an attempt that, if everything goes according to plan - which it hardly ever does in LSR attempts - is at least three years away.
Green and Noble say they’re doing it to inspire a new generation of engineers and I’m sure that’s a very noble cause, but for me being the fastest man on earth is simply the most heroic thing you can do on four wheels.
Plug into You Tube and watch Andy Green input 90 degrees of corrective steering lock at over 700mph in Thrust SSC in 1997 and you’ll see what I mean. He was off-course and borderline out of control at a speed that would have got him from London to Birmingham in comfortably under nine minutes.
Did he lift? Did he heck. Instead he calmly says into his mike: ‘700, just about in control, on the wrong line, don’t worry about it,’ while wrestling to contain a car with rear-wheel steering, heading in the wrong direction at something approaching the speed of sound.