Reborn Bloodhound land speed record car finally heading to Africa for shakedown tests

High speed testing will pave the way for a record-breaking run in 2020

THE BRITISH Bloodhound land speed record car is another step closer to its 1,000mph run after the team behind it confirmed high speed testing will take place in October.

According to Bloodhound LSR (the company born from the ashes of the original Bloodhound SSC project), the single-seater rocket car will be shipped over to South Africa in October this year to begin a month-long period of shakedown trials on the Hakskeen Pan mud flats, where the final record attempt will be made.

While the tests won’t see Bloodhound reach its potential top speed, the runs should see the car go the faster than ever before. The Bloodhound LSR team will use the car’s Roll-Royce EJ200 military-grade jet engine to hit a target of around 500mph, though RAF Wing Commander and Bloodhound pilot Andy Green said they could take the speed machine up to and beyond 600mph, depending on how well the test runs go.

The trials are expected to provide the team with data they can’t gather from aerodynamic simulation programmes ahead of next year’s record run, which will supplement the jet engine with a rocket motor to blast Bloodhound to 1,00mph.

By taking the car up to transonic speeds in the shakedown, Bloodhound LSR hopes to get a better understanding of aspects such as how the car behaves as it closes in on the sound barrier, and how much aerodynamic drag the bodywork generates — the latter being very valuable to the Scandinavian aerospace firm Nammo, which is building the rocket, so it knows exactly how much power needs to be provided.

While the target is still 1,000mph, Green (who set the current land speed record of 763.035mph in 1997) will be satisfied with any speed that breaks the current record. He told “[A record of] 1,000mph would be great; if we only get up to 900mph or 800mph, that’s still 800mph. Would I take that right now? Absolutely.”

He added: “There are no failures in setting a new land speed record here, it’s just the scale of the achievement. It’s not like you do or don’t get to the summit of Mount Everest; it’s a case of “we’ve achieved a unique, never-done-by-human-beings-before achievement”, and it’s just a scale of how much of that we do.”

Though Bloodhound LSR intends to be funded through sponsorships and its project partners when the record attempts begin, the company will for the time being be financially supported by its new chief executive Ian Warhurst, who saved the outfit after it went into administration in October 2018. Warhurst has already spent a seven figure sum on the project, and the Bloodhound boss yesterday revealed he isn’t expecting to see a profit at the end of it.

Speaking to, Warhurst said: “I’m not going to call it an investment, because you expect an investment to make money back. If I break even, I’ll be a very happy man.

“What I’m more interested in is I’m investing in the future of engineering, and I’m investing in creating the legacy this car will create to get more people involved in and excited about engineering. That’s what it’s about and in my view, to put that money that I made from a successful engineering business back into engineering for the future… what better way to spend the money?”

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