The Bloodhound land speeder is back, and it’s lookin’ fine
The Bloodhound is back, and it looks badass.
Britain’s bid to set a land speed record is back on track with word that the operation, once known as British Bloodhound SSC, has been reorganized under the direction of Grafton LSR Ltd. and renamed Bloodhound LSR.
The move opens a new chapter in a story that started in 2008 when British Bloodhound announced plans to set a new land speed record in a supersonic car. The team managed to build the vehicle and begin high-speed tests, but it ran out of money and went into receivership last year. Hours before its assets were to be sold in December, entrepreneur Ian Warhurst bought the entire operation, including the car and all of its associated intellectual property.
New ownership brings new livery, and the Bloodhound looks amazing in the red-over-white. Warhurst is looking for additional sponsors, so the color may change yet again as the team prepares for next year’s run at the record on an 11-mile course on the Hakskeenpan salt flat in the Kalahari Desert of South Africa.
At 45 feet long, the Bloodhound, like almost every land speed record seeker since Craig Breedlove’s Spirit of America, looks more like a rocket than a car. It uses a Eurojet EJ200 turbofan–the same engine used in the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet–augmented by rocket thrusters. Hit the afterburner and the combination produces 20,000 pounds of thrust.
The current 763.035 mph record was set by Andy Green in 1997 at the wheel of the Thrust SSC, built by Richard Noble. It’s considered to be the first car to break the sound barrier and indeed created a sonic boom as it crossed that speed threshold, though a quick reference check shows the speed of sound to be 767 mph. That speed actually varies, however, depending on temperature and elevation. Noble and Green have been involved in the Bloodhound project from the start. They’ll stay aboard, as will many of the engineers and technicians from the original team. They hope to hit 1,000 mph, and have so far achieved speeds as high as 200 mph in tests.
Warhurst has moved the entire operation the UK Land Speed Record Center, a new 10,500-square-foot facility at the SGS Berkeley Green University Technical College. Warhurst says he has provided the money needed to begin high-speed tests, and he is seeking a title sponsor for the car.