Careers and education

Bloodhound hits 200mph in public runs ahead of land speed record attempt

Joseph Flaig at Cornwall Airport in Newquay

(Credit: Joseph Flaig)
(Credit: Joseph Flaig)

The Bloodhound SSC came one step closer to being the fastest thing on Earth today as driver Andy Green took it to 200mph (322km/h) in public tests.

After a decade of intensive planning, an extensive team of aspirant record-breakers revealed a glimpse of the British car’s power at Cornwall Airport in Newquay. The top speed was the fastest ever achieved in the 13.4m-long vehicle after private trials up to 241km/h.

Members of the public and media massed together near the edge of the runway ahead of the two test runs. The first took many people by surprise and people scrambled to turn on phones and cameras as the potential record-breaker hit its top speed in just eight seconds.  After a quick taxi, the second run was also successful and applause rang out afterwards. 

In 2019, the team hopes to smash the current land speed record – set at 1,228km/h by former RAF fighter pilot Green in the Thrust SSC in 1997 – and push past 1,000mph (1,609km/h) in South Africa.

The successful runs follow weeks of dynamic testing and fitting in Newquay. Speaking to Professional Engineering before the trials, chief engineer Mark Chapman said the project “is what engineering is all about.” The runs are probably the fastest the car will ever go in the UK, he added. 

As well as hitting speeds faster than commercial airliners in the record-breaking attempts, the team also aims to showcase British engineering prowess and inspire school pupils to pursue STEM careers. Writing on Twitter yesterday, science minister Jo Johnson said: “Delighted PM endorses Bloodhound SSC as great STEM inspiration programme & advertisement for UK science + engineering around world.” The team will also run demonstrations for members of the public and school pupils at the weekend and early next week.

The IMechE is one of many sponsors for the ambitious project, which it describes as “the most exciting and dynamic engineering challenge going on today”.

Click here to watch Bloodhound in action.


Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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