BLOODHOUND Supersonic Car Makes World Debut

At a recent event in London’s Canary Wharf, The BLOODHOUND Project revealed the world’s fastest and most advanced racing car: BLOODHOUND SSC.

The product of eight years of research, design and manufacturing, involving over 350 companies and universities, the car is the center piece of a free exhibition, booked out within days of being announced, with 8000 people coming to see the Land Speed Racer.

They were among the first to see the completed 13.5m streamliner, which uses jet and rocket motors to produce c.135,000 thrust hp. This is more than nine times the power output of all the cars in Formula 1 combined and makes BLOODHOUND SSC the most worlds’ powerful land vehicle.

BLOODHOUND SSC is being shown in record attempt configuration, with its 2m high tail fin, required for stability at high speed, in place for the first time. Carbon fiber panels have been partially removed on one side in order to show the technology inside the car, including the Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine and supercharged Jaguar V8 engine used to pump oxidizer into the Nammo rocket.

Visitors were invited to look inside the finished cockpit - a huge and complex monocoque (single piece shell) crafted from multiple layers of carbon fiber to produce what is probably the strongest safety-cell ever fitted to a racing car.

Inside there is a sophisticated digital dashboard, designed by the driver, as well as manual back-ups for the major controls. They are there because BLOODHOUND SSC has not been designed ‘simply’ to reach 1000mph; it must do so safely.

That is why the car has three separate braking systems, seven fire extinguishers and 500 sensors, twice as many as a Formula One car, so engineers will know exactly how it is performing during each high speed run. Castrol is providing a number of high tech lubricants including a specially blended engine oil, strengthened with their unique Titanium Fluid Strength Technology. Custom-made Rolex instruments provide another layer of redundancy: should the digital read-outs fail, these clocks will be used to time the release of the car’s parachutes and when to apply the wheel brakes.

The car has been created by a team of Formula 1 and aerospace experts with assistance from the Army’s Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and technicians from the RAFs 71 Squadron who built the tail fin.

BLOODHOUND SSC is not just a racing car – it is also a supersonic TV studio. There are 12 cameras built into the vehicle, including two inside the cockpit that will be live for the first time during the public show.

When the team is racing for its first record next year in South Africa, audiences will enjoy the same view and see the same information. They will know how the car is balanced, the temperatures in the engines, the speed through the Measured Mile.

Sharing the experience in this way, and all the data coming from the car, is a core principle of The BLOODHOUND Project and central to its mission of inspiring a future generation about science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

The team is delivering results before the car even turns a wheel, with over 100,000 children in the UK alone doing BLOODHOUND lessons or attending events each year. Universities involved with The Project have seen record numbers apply to study engineering while the BLOODHOUND Model Rocket Car Challenge, where students build and race 12” long rocket powered cars, is taking off around the world.

Project Director Richard Noble said, "Public interest in The Project is incredible and thanks to the generous support of our partners we are delighted to able to bring BLOODHOUND SSC to London and put it on show.  With the car now built and the track in South Africa prepared our focus is on racing in 2016. That part of the adventure starts with runway tests at Newquay Aerohub next Easter.”

Engineering facts

  • BLOODHOUND’s wheels spin at 10,200rpm, 170 times per second. They generate 50,000 radial G.
  • BLOODHOUND will run on the Hakskeen Pan, South Africa. This is an alkali plays, essentially a dried up lake bed.
  • A team of 317 locals were employed to clear the desert, they shifted 15,800 tonnes of stones by hand, from 22 million square metres.
  • For 2016 BLOODHOUND will be fitted with three hybrid rockets, which combined with the EJ200 from a Eurofighter Typhoon will produce 135,000 thrust horse power.
  • BLOODHOUND will decelerate from 1,000mph at 3G, this like traveling from 60mph to standstill in one second, most people call this a crash.
  • BLOODHOUND will go from zero to 1,000mph in 55 seconds and back to zero again in a further 65 seconds, covering 12 miles.
  • The EJ200 jet engine consumes 64,000 litres of air per second, it would suck all the air from an average sized house in 3 seconds.

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