Bloodhound land speed racer aims for 500 mph in South Africa

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The Bloodhound land speed racing team has packed its bags for South Africa. The Bloodhound’s entourage is setting sail for the Kalahari desert and the initial round of testing en route to its goal of claiming the land speed world record. Truth be told, it’s really just the car’s trailer and a lot of equipment that’s setting sail—the car itself was carefully prepared for its journey by air to avoid any bumps that might cause damage.

The team hopes that testing, which begins in mid-October, will last for a month and progress in 50-mph increments for a final test in excess of 500 mph. The world’s most powerful car has hit 200 mph on a short test on a runway in 2017, but the upcoming desert test will have 10 miles of flat course where the car can stretch its legs—and where driver Andy Green can get a feel for how it behaves at the speeds it’s most unstable.

Bloodhound is powered by a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine that puts out 90 kilonewtons of thrust with the afterburner. The Eurofighter Typhoon, for comparison, uses a pair of those engines to take to the air and achieve 1500 mph: twice the speed of sound.

The Bloodhound team is up against the current overall land speed record of 763.035 mph, set by the Thrust SSC team in 1997. That team was led by Andy Noble, and the driver was the very same Andy Green.

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Since the thrust-powered Bloodhound doesn’t have to worry about traction—one of the biggest hurdles for dry lakes or salt flat racers—it doesn’t need tires. Instead, it rides on 90-centimeter aluminum wheels that have been precision-balanced to spin at 10,200 rpm—necessary when the team attempts its ultimate goal of 1000 mph.

Good luck and Godspeed, Bloodhound team!

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