The Bloodhound SSC is a supersonic car built with the express goal of exceeding (or reaching) 1000mph. This is completely nuts.
The Bloodhound is technically a car because it has four wheels and is under the full-control of a driver. It’s 44 feet long, just over 9 foot tall, and when it’s fully fueled it weighs in at a whopping 17,165 lbs. The driver is Wing Commander Andy Green, who was driving the ThrustSSC when setting the current record of 763mph in 1997.
The inspiration behind building the Bloodhound—named for the Bristol Bloodhound 2, a surface-to-air missile capable of accelerating from standstill to Mach 1 in 2.5 seconds—is pretty altruistic. The team realized that this project wouldn’t be limited by the technological secrecy that surrounds designs for Formula 1 Racing. They were free to make all the information public and hope to inspire a new generation of engineers and STEM enthusiasts. (They do also make a note that one goal is to get media exposure for sponsors, but I think the bigger goal is education.)
If you take a look at the site, they note, “Building a car quicker than a fighter jet is not, however, the primary goal of the project. Rather, it is to inspire future generations to take up careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by showcasing these subjects in the most exciting way possible. This supports the DCSF’s new three year cinema and television campaign due to be launched later in November which will demonstrate the breadth and variety of careers open to science and maths students.”
The team hasn’t reached 1000 mph yet, the current record stands at 764.035 mph, but they speculate when finished the car will accelerate from zero to 1000 mph in just 55 seconds. That is, in case you were wondering, faster than a bullet fired from a Magnum 357.
At this point you’re probably wondering how this is accomplished or rather how they hope to accomplish this. The car features an EJ200 jet engine with 20,233 lbf and provides about half the thrust. The EJ200 is generally found in the Eurofighter Typhoon. The car also has a hybrid rocket engine with 27,427 lbf. Interestingly, the Bloodhound was supposed to be purely powered by rockets, but the team realized that a hybrid would offer more control and power. The third part of the power trifecta is an auxiliary power unit with 800 BHP, responsible for hydraulic systems and pumping 9 gallons of High Test Peroxide to the rocket every second.
The main body of the car is a hybrid construction of carbon fiber (front) and metallic fabrication (rear). The front design is similar to a Formula 1 car. The wheels are made from solid aluminum, each weighing in at 209 pounds and capable of spinning at over 10,000rpm. It may sound intense, but consider that each one is subject to 50,000 ‘G’ at the rim.
The follow-up to that is questioning how exactly you stop something going 1000mph. At 800 mph, the driver deploys an air brake, at 600mph a parachute, and at 200mph a friction brake. They’re running on desert land though, which the team likens to trying to stop on a wet road.
They’re looking to beat the Outright World Land Speed Record, regulated by Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, which means they need to cover a mile distance two times in 60 minutes. Don’t forget that the car must be stopped and restarted once within that time limit. Good luck!