British-built Bloodhound blasts past 500mph in pursuit of land speed record

British-built Bloodhound car powered by an engine normally found on a Typhoon fighter jet blasts past 500mph in pursuit of land speed record

An British-made landbound jet known as Bloodhound has become one of the world‘s ten fastest cars this week, as it continues its aim of setting a new land speed record.

‘The feeling in this car is fantastic,‘ said driver Andy Green, days after the Bloodhound hit 501 mph (806 kph) in ‘s northern desert. ‘It‘s quite lively… The car is just doing brilliant work.‘

Bloodhound‘s next goal is to reach 550 mph (885 kph), possibly in the coming week.

Powered by a Rolls-Royce EJ200, the same jet engine used in the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet, the car hurtles so fast across the salt pan track that a twin parachute is needed to bring it to a halt.

With the aerodynamic lines of a rocket, Bloodhound was designed and built in Britain by Grafton LSR.

It was taken apart and air-freighted to South Africa, where it was reassembled. Its crew is working flat out in South Africa to refine all aspects of the car.

‘The whole team has been on a buzz since arriving here a few weeks ago to knock out the teething problems,‘ said Green, 57, a jet fighter pilot for Britain‘s Royal Air Force who says his hobby is driving straight-line racing cars. ‘We‘re working together to get the car up to top speed.‘

Over the next few weeks, Green and the Grafton team hope to get Bloodhound up to 600 mph (965 kph). Over the next year, they aim to break the world land speed record of 763 mph (1,228 kph). Green set that record in a different car in 1997.

History of the world land speed record 

1904: Frenchman Louis Rigolly becomes the first man to drive a car at 100mph, taking the record from American carmaker Henry Ford

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1927: Briton Henry Segrave passes the 200mph mark, driving the Sunbeam 1000 HP Mystery in Florida

1963: American Craig Breedlove sets the first record with a jet-powered car, reaching 407mph, although it was not ratified as the official record until later

1964: Breedlove reaches 500mph, driving at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in the United States

1983: Britain reclaims the record when Richard Noble drives Thrust2 at 634mph 

1997: Andy Green breaks the record twice in the same year in Nevada‘s Black Rock Desert, reaching the current benchmark of 763mph in October that year while driving ThrustSSC

2020: Bloodhound manufacturers hope to beat the record 

Ultimately, Bloodhound‘s jet engine will be boosted by a rocket engine with the goal of safely reaching 1,000 mph (1,609 kph), faster than the 767 mph (1,234 kph) speed of sound.

Green reckons that South Africa‘s Hakskeen Pan is the best place to reach that speed.

In northwestern South Africa, near the border with Namibia, the dry lake has an alkali playa, or baked mud, surface and has been painstakingly cleared of all rocks.

The government of the Northern Cape province hired more than 300 people of the local Mier community in a yearslong project to clear 16,500 tons (15,000 metric tons) of stone from the 12-mile-long (19-kilometer-long) track, said Bloodhound spokesman Jules Tipler.

‘They‘ve created the best straight-line high-speed testing track in the world,‘ Green said, adding that it surpasses the Black Rock Desert track in Nevada in the United States.

‘This track is harder, it has more consistency and the weather is much better. We have six months with clear weather to test here.‘


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