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Going through the paces: Bloodhound SSC reaches 200mph in her first public runs

Institution News Team

Bloodhound runs at Newquay (Credit: Stefan Marjoram)
Bloodhound runs at Newquay (Credit: Stefan Marjoram)

Today, the Bloodhound SSC team experienced its biggest milestone yet in the development of the world’s first 1,000 mph car. At 13:22, the Bristol-built supersonic car underwent its first public tests on the runway at Newquay airport.

Driven by RAF Wing Commander Andy Green, the aim for the car is to break the world land speed record in 2019, on a special track in Northern Cape, South Africa. However, today’s initial “slow-speed trials” had a different goal.

“This is about showing the world what we’re about. We’ve designed and built the most extraordinary, sophisticated, high-performance land speed record car in history.” Wing Commander Green told BBC news.

The sleek, supersonic car, combines the technology and power of a Eurojet EJ200 fighter jet, Jaguar Supercharged V8 F1 Car and Nammo Rocket Cluster space craft. While these hybrid rockets will not be used today -(they’re still being developed in Norway - the team is confident they are at a stage where they can test the performance of the Eurofighter power unit, the vehicle’s steering brakes, suspension and electronic systems down Newquay’s 1.7mile long runway, paying particular attention to the aerodynamic performance at high speeds.

“Every single test run we do will be increasing the speed and I’ll be watching at every stage the downloads on the wheels. If they’re getting too low, we’ll abort, if they’re getting too high we’ll abort. I’ll be watching the instruments all the time.” Green told Sky News.

In order to obtain all the data the team required, two complete test runs must be completed, but how would the car, and the team perform in their first live demonstrations.

Bloodhound is go

At 13:15, Bloodhound SSC, driven by Wing Commander Green began to taxi down the Newquay runway. Using just the thrust of its jet engine, the car reached speeds of up to 200mph (320km/h) as Green confidently steered it along two trips down Newquay’s runway.

While you may have to wait two to three years, and travel to the Hakskeen Pan in South Africa, to see the team attempt to break the land speed record, over 3,000 VIPS were treated to a historical sight today.  

On two separate trips, Bloodhound’s Eurofighter EJ200 jet engine powered the vehicle from a standing start to 200mph in around eight seconds. And if the sight alone wasn’t enough to make a mark, viewers were treated to the deafening sound and striking glare of the engine on reheat.

After completing the successful runs, Green told the Evening Standard: “We came here to show the world Bloodhound is go and I cannot think of a better way of having done that.”

Bloodhound's driver Andy Green undertaking essential pre-run checks (credit: Steve Marjoram)
Bloodhound's driver Andy Green undertaking essential pre-run checks (Credit: Stefan Marjoram)

Following today’s successful test, both the Bloodhound SSC team and car will be remaining in Newquay where they will be offering Institution members the chance to be a part of the engineering adventure with an Open Day on Saturday 28 October. Team members including Project Director Richard Noble and driver Wing Commander Andy Green will be answering questions and the car will be running for a second time.

This is followed by an Education day where students are invited to watch the car run for and further their engineering educations with numerous Bloodhound related activities.

Find out more about both of these dates and purchase your tickets.

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