Test-ready Bloodhound Land Speed Record car revealed in South Africa

Britain’s Bloodhound LSR is looking good under the South African sun, set to begin testing at up to 500 mph. Just last year, the project was saved from cancellation. Now, powered by an EJ200 Eurofighter Typhoon jet engine and a supplemental rocket engine, Wing Commander Andy Green’s ride is rolling on its precision-machined solid aluminum wheels for the first time, all set for the Hakskeenpan desert in South Africa.

Designed to withstand the stresses of traveling at supersonic speeds, those wheels can now run smoothly thanks to the 317 local workers who removed 18 tons of rock from 8.5 square miles of the dry lakebed, by hand. Talk about a supportive community.

Next up in its testing regimen, the Bloodhound LSR will do a number of runs, mostly so that the team can evaluate how the car behaves when slowing down from certain target speeds, building up to and beyond 500 miles per hour. As the Bloodhound team explains:

“Only once engineers and driver Andy Green are satisfied they understand the drag and stopping ability of the car will they push to the next run profile, building speed in each run by increments of 50 mph (80 km/h). The Bloodhound LSR team will examine how much drag the car creates in a number of scenarios and at various speeds, using the wheel brakes, one or both of the drag parachutes, and with the giant airbrakes locked into position.”

Bloodhound LSR
Bloodhound LSR

While data from 192 pressure sensors on the car will be monitored and compared against the predicted CFD (computational fluid dynamics) models, real-life drag figures will also tell the engineers the size of the rocket that can be fitted to the record attempt car in 12-18 months.

Previously at Newquay runway in the UK, the Bloodhound team was checking how quickly the engine could go to full power and accelerate using max reheat. During that run, Andy Green was on the throttle for just two seconds, reaching 200 mph in eight seconds. To put that into perspective, a Koenigsegg One:1 needs 14.328 seconds of dedicated acceleration to reach 200 mph.

The Bloodhound LSR may be a very heavy beast, but in the South African lakebed, Green will have a 10-mile track to accelerate, and then come to a safe halt. And to make sure he doesn’t run into crosswinds, remote, battery-powered micro-climate weather stations will be located every 0.6-miles along the track, sending data back to the base camp. Taking on a challenge like this, no factor can be left to chance. We can’t wait to see the Bloodhound team make this unbelievable attempt when they’re finally ready.

Bloodhound LSR
Bloodhound LSR
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