A funding crisis last year threatened to shut down the entire Bloodhound Supersonic Car project, which aims to achieve a new 1000mph World Land Speed Record with a vehicle powered by both a jet engine and a rocket to deliver 135,000HP — that’s more than six times the power of all the Formula 1 cars on a starting grid put together. While sponsors include South Africa’s Cape region, where the record attempt is planned, there is a firm British focus to the project, with The British Army and Air Force both involved, along with educational institutions and The Institute of Mechanical Engineers, so it’s appropriate that it is a mechanical engineer, Yorkshire-based entrepreneur Ian Warhurst, who has bought into the project after selling his Barnsley-based turbocharger firm Melett to US company Wabtec Corporation last year.
BACK ON TRACK The 13-metre 7.5-tonne Bloodhound uses a Eurojet EJ200 jet engine together with a Nammo rocket/rocket cluster, and an additional Jaguar Supercharged V8 engine just to drive the rocket oxidiser pump. A global search for a suitable venue settled on the Hakskeen Pan in northwest South Africa, a more forgiving surface for steel wheels than Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats where Sir Malcolm Campbell was the first to set a Land Speed Record over 300mph in 1935,
and in better condition than the Black Rock Desert where an annual Burning Man festival has damaged the surface where ‘Thrust SSC’ set the current record of 760.343mph (the first supersonic land speed record) under a team which went on to found the Bloodhound project. Until the attempt takes place, Bloodhound will continue its impressive educational role inspiring the next generation of engineers. More info: www.bloodhoundssc.com
PICS: Flock London / BloodhoundSSV
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