BLOODHOUND SSC makes first ever public run at Cornwall Airport Newquay, 20 years after Thrust SSC set the current World Land Speed Record
Car to be run faster in 2018 as rocket programme is developed
BLOODHOUND SSC made its first public runs at Cornwall Airport Newquay today, hitting a peak speed of 210mph in front of an estimated 3,500 spectators, including VIPs and members of the BLOODHOUND’s 1K supporters club. The successful test was live streamed around the world and came 20 years after driver Wing Commander Andy Green set the current World Land Speed Record of 763.035mph.
BLOODHOUND SSC made two runs along the 9,000ft (2.7km) runway, accelerating at a rate of 1.5G and reaching 210mph from a standing start in just 8 seconds.
The runs were an unqualified success and atmosphere among the crowd was euphoric. Andy Green was equally thrilled: “The Car is already working faster and better than we expected. I cannot wait to go faster!”
Powering down the runway
For these runs, power was provided by a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine, normally found in a Eurofighter Typhoon. This produced a peak thrust of 20,000lbs (90 kilonewtons), equivalent to 54,000 thrust horsepower, or the combined output of 360 family cars.
On completing the test, Andy Green added: “The design and engineering team has done an incredible job with BLOODHOUND SSC. There is development work still to do, of course, but straight out of the box it feels responsive, stable and, above all, tremendously fast.
“Although 210mph is far below the Car’s ultimate target of 1,000mph, today was a proper workout for the vehicle. The Car is designed for high speed on a desert rather than sprint performance off the line, but it still accelerated from zero to 210mph in less than 8 seconds. It’s also notable for being the longest period that we’ve run the Car for, at around 21.5 minutes – and remember it’s designed to run for just 2 minutes at a time in the desert.”
Final stage of Newquay tests
The runway trials came at the end of a month of testing at Cornwall Airport Newquay where the Team has been checking the integration of the EJ200 jet engine as well as the Car’s steering, brakes, suspension, data systems and other functions. It’s also given the Team the opportunity to develop operating procedures and safety protocols, and practice radio communications.
The Car was fitted with its runway wheels, originally from an English Electric Lightning fighter. Specially reconditioned by Dunlop, these wheels have pneumatic tyres, which have around one-third of the grip of regular car tyres.
“Stopping a slippery, 5 tonne car, running on low-grip aircraft tyres, is a challenge within the relatively limited length of the 2.7km runway here, particularly as the Car continues accelerating after I lift off the throttle. I discovered during the initial dynamic tests that to get the Car to 200mph, I would have to take my foot off the throttle at 130mph as it then carries on accelerating for another 2 seconds. And then to slow down, I need to apply gentle pressure to the brakes for 2 seconds to ‘warm up’ the carbon fibre disk brakes before applying full force on the brakes to stop the Car.”
The brakes heated up to nearly 1,000°C and Andy noted that there was even a flicker of flame on one of them: “It’s a proper race car!”
“We have built up to this over the past few weeks, but the performance today was still astonishing. BLOODHOUND SSC is already performing like a thoroughbred racing car, supported by a brilliant engineering team. Nevertheless, with this combination of runway length and what I have to do slow the Car down, these two runs represent one of the most difficult run profiles I will ever do in BLOODHOUND.
“When we run on the dry lake bed at Hakskeen Pan, South Africa, BLOODHOUND SSC will be running on solid aluminium wheels with even less grip than we had here. Data from today’s tests, including jet engine performance, aerodynamic stability and the braking distances, will help us plan our World Land Speed Record campaign.”
BLOODHOUND’S Chief Engineer Mark Chapman said, “The Newquay tests have gone better than anyone dared hope and that is testament to the many years of research and design invested in BLOODHOUND SSC. It is a one-off prototype with over 3,500 bespoke parts, so to see it performing so well today is a hugely satisfying experience. It’s like a greyhound, not a bloodhound!”
Next stages of development
Next year, BLOODHOUND SSC will be run at even higher speeds. “This is as fast as we can run the Car in the UK,” confirmed Chapman. “We will run it faster next year. The rocket won’t be in the Car then, but those runs will be to develop the Car further in conjunction with developing the rocket programme.”
Endre Lunde, Senior Vice President Communications at Nammo, BLOODHOUND’s rocket provider, said: “Today is a tremendous achievement and we are really looking forward to working with BLOODHOUND next year to help the Car go even faster.”
A.S. Ramchander, Vice-President Marketing at Castrol, said: “We are delighted to see BLOODHOUND SSC complete its first public runs. This partnership gives us the chance to showcase how our high-performance products such as Castrol EDGE SUPERCAR push the boundaries of performance and we have our sights firmly set on partnering on a 22nd World Land Speed Record.”
An inspiring day
Although today’s event focused on the Car, the BLOODHOUND Project is all about inspiring young people to enjoy, explore and get involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Rolls-Royce engineer Jess Herbert said, “I was inspired to take up a career in engineering by the BLOODHOUND Project after the team visited my school and I then took up an apprenticeship at Rolls-Royce. I was lucky enough to have been at the unveiling of BLOODHOUND back in 2015 and I’m hugely excited and proud to have the opportunity to witness the test runs. Being a BLOODHOUND Ambassador has given me the chance to share the story with the engineers of tomorrow and I hope that seeing the Car in action will really help to bring the whole thing to life for them too.”
Richard Noble, Project Director, added, “These trials at Newquay take us one step closer to setting the next World Land Speed Record. The BLOODHOUND Project is now being followed by a huge number of people in Britain and we are thrilled that 3,500 people came today and around the same amount are paying to come to see us on Saturday.
“With Oracle Corporation now on board as our Cloud Partner we can inspire millions by exporting large volumes of BLOODHOUND performance data around the world to 220 countries. We have delivered real results already, with our university partners reporting substantial increases in the number of young people taking up engineering as a direct result of the BLOODHOUND Project. That is our primary objective and we’re delighted that we have 3,500 students coming to see the Car run on Monday 30th October – I know this will inspire a lot more!”
The Team will now start to analyse the data, as well as checking the Car and preparing it for the Public Day on Saturday and the Education Day on Monday when around 3,500 children and young people are expected to attend.