This BLOODHOUND could break the land-speed record

“Part spaceship, part racing car, part jet fighter”, that’s how Mark Chapman, chief engineer of the Bristol-based Bloodhound Project de...

“Part spaceship, part racing car, part jet fighter”, that’s how Mark Chapman, chief engineer of the Bristol-based Bloodhound Project described this remarkable invention to BBC. If all goes well, the Bloodhound SSC (supersonic car) is set to not only break the current land-speed record of 763mph set by the Thrust SSC in 1997, it will supercede the current record holder by reaching a staggering speed of 1000mph. Heck, even at a leisure speed by its own standards, the Bloodhound will still break the sound barrier.

The SSC has three engines to help it move along - a jet engine, a rocket, and a ‘little’ race car engine which function is to pump fuel for the rocket. The jet engine alone can bring the vehicle to about 600mph, but the rocket engine will be the one to take it all the way to 1000mph; together, they generate a crazy 135,000hp and propel the car to the target speed in just 55 seconds.

It took an amalgamation of car and aircraft technologies to create the SSC’s aerodynamic structure. The monocoque front resembles a racing car and was fashioned from carbon-fibre, while the rear half was formed from panels on a metallic framework. Don’t expect conventional tyres on this baby. It may have four wheels, just like any ol’ car, but you won't find rubber on them. The wheels spin at 10,500rpm, making them the fastest wheels ever; rubber tyres would just fly off, so the wheels are forged from SOLID ALUMINIUM. Whoa. When you learn that the rims will be subjected to forces of up to 50,000G, strong but relatively light aluminium wheels suddenly make perfect sense.
The next question would be “WHY?!” Why are these people doing this and spending £10 million in the process, especially when the entire country was in recession when the project started some six years ago? Are they barking mad (could not resist a dog-related pun)? According to the Bloodhound website, the project’s objective is to inspire the next generation to be interested in science, tech, engineering and maths; yup, sounds like a nicely concocted excuse for big boys to play with big toys. But Chapman himself was also inspired by another supersonic invention to pursue a career in engineering. The story goes that one day, while in primary school, a great sound interrupted lessons and Chapman ran out, looked up and saw the Concorde race across the sky. So, maybe the Bloodhound will be this generation’s Concorde and inspire future engineers and scientists.

Here’s an interesting fact to conclude. The builders wanted to emphasize that they are mindful of energy expenditure and the carbon footprints their little project will leave behind; according to their calculations, the annual CO2 output of the Bloodhound Project is equivalent to the same annual CO2 output as 4.12 lactating cows (if we’re not mistaken, the methane and CO2 output of a cow increases when it is producing milk; we’d appreciate more input here…anyone?). Here we go again, blaming the cows for global warming; their reputation has really gone to the dogs (had to do it again).

images source: Flock and Siemens


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