With a design finalized, the British team that holds the current land speed record plans to smash it with a hybrid jet-rocket propelled car they aim to take beyond 1,000 mph.
The 6-ton super sonic car (SSC), known as Bloodhound, has about the equivalent horsepower as 180 Formula 1 cars. It will be powered by a Eurofighter jet engine mounted above a hybrid rocket, and will be built in Bristol, UK.
The original configuration called for a 440 lb rocket mounted above a Eurofighter Typhoon engine, but the team discovered through modeling that the rocket would have to be doubled in size to provide the necessary thrust to overcome drag. That size of engine would make the vehicle unstable. Therefore, the design team reversed the positions of the two engines. The reason for two power plants is because the jet engine provides the initial acceleration, while the rocket provides the additional thrust to reach the maximum speed.
Bloodhound will be "piloted" by Andy Green, the same driver who set the world land speed record of 763 mph in Thrust SSC in 2007. Green said he hoped Bloodhound would be ready to try to beat the record in 2011, but according to the project director, Richard Noble (who was also once the holder of the world land speed record), that year they plan to target 800 mph.
"The car will then be reviewed and modified before aiming for 1000 mph in 2012," Noble wrote in a letter.
The team plans to have the car ready in 2011 when it will be shipped to the Hakskeen Pan, Northern Cape Province, South Africa for testing on a 10 mile track. As PhsyOrg.com writes, according to Green; "The pan is perfect because the surface of the dried-out lake can support the car but is soft enough to allow the titanium or carbon-reinforced aluminum wheels to sink perhaps one centimeter, which would give the car needed damping or compliance to help him to steer the car at lower speeds. (At higher speeds it steers more like a speedboat than a car.) The track will be 10 miles (16 km) long."
While it's hard to connect the dots for how this project will yield direct applications that benefit humanity, the primary objective, says Noble, is to inspire the next generation to pursue careers in science, engineering, technology and maths.
Below is the latest animation produced by the Bloodhound Project: