Bloodhound LSR, the British team that made its public debut in September 2015 with an ambitious project to design, build and drive a vehicle capable of reaching land speeds of over 1,000 mph, is now halfway through that goal. Under the sizzling Kalahari sun in South Africa this week, the team's car drove at a speed of 501 mph (806 km / h), making it a place among the 10 fastest cars on the planet .
It is a remarkable comeback for a team that was about to stop last year after the funding ran out. Although many people became intrigued and excited, it failed to secure as much funding as possible, which forced the project to go into administration in October 2018. But thanks to one 11-hour acquisition by an entrepreneur based in Yorkshire, the Bloodhound team got the delay it was hoping for and is now able to move on to its record-breaking goal.
That goal is to reach the land speed record of 763,035 mph that was achieved by driver Andy Green in 1997. Green himself is back in the driver's seat at Bloodhound LSR and drives the team's jet-powered car in an attempt to break his own record.
"To be honest, it's like we never left," said Green The edge in a telephone interview from the Kalahari desert after reaching the threshold of 500 mph. “I still remember what it was like to drive ThrustSSC in the Black Rock desert in Nevada. "
There are many similarities between the car that Green drove in 1997 and the one in which it drives for this last attempt – but also many differences. This time the Bloodhound LSR uses one EJ200 Rolls-Royce jet engine that is also used in the Eurofighter Typhoon combat jet that started producing in 2003.
But it's the ability of the team to reach a global audience through social media and the internet that really sets the two record-breaking efforts apart, Green said. He recalled that he had recently received an email from a couple in the UK whose five-year-old is following the exploits of the team with fascination.
"That is precisely the effect that we are looking for," said Green. "That five-year-old will one day be one of the people who builds and lives in the high-tech, low-carbon, energy-efficient world of the future."
He added: "This is the first linear racing car of the digital age."
The most recent test was not without problems. During the engine shutdown, a fire alarm went into the cockpit, the group said in a release. Green called "Fire, Fire, Fire" via the radio and quickly evacuated the cockpit through the hatch. Rescue trucks were on display within seconds.
But a quick inspection by fire brigade officers revealed that there was no fire. The warning was triggered by a fire wire designed to burn and break at 160 ° C. The afternoon sun was 36 ° C, which, in combination with the heat generated by the jet engine, caused the warning.
The project has now been split into two phases. The purpose of phase one is to break the world speed record. This is necessary to understand how the car behaves when entering the car Transonic phases and then supersonic speed levels. If they are successful, the team will review the data and technical challenges before starting phase two: 1,000 mph.
"Ideally, we want to try that next year," said Green, "if we get all the technology and get the rocket on time. That depends on our technical partnerships and we get things done quickly."