While I have always been intrigued by the technology, I have never really gotten excited about the cigar-shaped, land speed record jet “cars” that usually attempt these amazing feats. It wasn’t until recently that I came across the latest effort, the Bloodhound SSC, by Richard Noble and driver Andy Green that I began to get excited.
“This one goes to Mach 1”
While hard to see in the photo, look closely at the dial to the driver’s left. In between the numerals “7” and “8” you will notice a small note to the driver: “Mach 1.” As in, “YES THIS THING CAN GO MACH 1 AND DAMN YOU HAVE BALLS, OLD CHAP! CARRY ON!”
What you are looking at is the controls for the Bloodhound SSC, which is aiming to not only break the World Land Speed record, but the team is setting its sights on breaking the 1,000 MPH mark, as well.
Looking at the impressive specifications for the car, it’s hard not to believe in this ambitious team:
- 3 power units are being utilized: a Rolls-Royce-based EuroJet EJ200 fighter jet engine gets the car going to 300 MPH where a hybrid rocket engine takes over with combined thrust of over 135,000 HP… all backed-up by a Cosworth CA2010 Formula 1 motor as an auxiliary power unit!
- The monocoque cockpit alone required 10,000 hours to design and manufacture, 7 different carbon fiber weave types, two different resins and 3 varying thickness aluminum honeycomb cores sandwiched between the carbon fiber layers.
- While data will be displayed on a complement of multiple screens, Rolex was tasked with creating a speedometer and chronograph that could withstand 1,000 mph while surviving in the desert climate of South Africa. Complete with fail-safe, battery back-up auxiliary power, these aren’t your Sunpro gauges from Autozone.
- Forged, solid aluminum wheels, 3-feet in diameter are required due to the extreme amount of force applied at the wheel, over 50,000 g of centrifugal force
If these details aren’t exciting enough, check out the “Ten Astounding Facts about the Bloodhound SSC” the team put together.
No Bull Here
Andy Green is to supersonic cars what Felix Baumgartner is to skydiving. His resume is astounding and can be summed-up in one word: badass. Among his lesser accomplishments:
- Green went to Oxford College on sponsorship from the Royal Air Force, where he was on the rowing team
- He flew F4 Phantoms in the latter part of the Cold War and Tornado F3’s over Bosnia, Iraq and the Faulklands
- When not receiving multiple awards, he’s done some pretty big jobs in the RAF, including commanding the Harrier wing at RAF Wittering
During all of this he was trying to break records on land, as well. In 1997, at the age of 35, he became the first person to break the sound barrier on land and is the current World Land Speed Record holder having driven the ThrustSSC to a tick over 763 MPH.
As development of the Bloodhound SSC continues, you can follow it on their website here. Rolex has also created a nifty countdown timer to let you track progress of the project’s many stages (copied from the Bloodhound SSC site below).