Years in the making, the Bloodhound SSC is now in the final stages of preparations ahead of its goal to break the world land speed record

The Bloodhound SSC’s attempt to break the world land speed record is now in the homestretch. The car is being prepared to finally make the attempt at the Hakskeen Pan in South Africa sometime in October 2017. This comes after the project was announced two years ago and a year after the car was first unveiled to the public.

It’s a landmark moment for everyone involved in the project and it probably wouldn’t have reached this point without the infusion of sufficient funding to get the car ready for its date with destiny. Fortunately for all parties concerned, the finances are now in place to complete the car as it attempts to break what will then be the 20th anniversary of the record set by Andy Green back in October 1997 when he went supersonic in the Thrust SSC on his way to clocking a top speed of 763.035 mph.

The record still stands to this day, but all signs seem to point to the 44.3-foot streamliner setting a new record as the team behind the project is confident that it will break 800 mph. In a nice bit of irony, Andy Green has been tapped to man the wheel of the SSC when it makes its record attempt. Basically, Green will be driving to break his own 20-year record in the process.

In the meantime, Bloodhound engineers will be working on the car to get it up to record-breaking standards. With the funding now in place, engineers will have a full year to make the necessary preparations, including disassembling the streamliner and documenting the process in great detail. This will be done to create a user manual, which will eventually be used as a guide when the time comes that the car needs to be pieced together for its record-breaking run.

The streamliner will also undergo tests with its power sources – the EJ220 and Nammo rocket systems – in place at the Newquay Aerohub. Once it’s determined that the SSC is fit for use, Bloodhound will begin testing the vehicle under its own power in June 2017 at speeds of 220 mph, or the equivalent of a crawl by the streamliner’s standards.

When that’s done, the car will then be airlifted to South Africa for it’s eventual date with destiny.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

It’s taken a while to get to this point, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m happy and excited for the people behind the Bloodhound SSC. I know that a lot of sleepless nights happened in the pursuit of setting the world land speed record and now that the final stages of preparation are upon us, a lot more sleepless nights will come for all those involved in the project.

Personally, I’m rooting for the Bloodhound SSC to set the world land speed record. I know it’s been 20 years since the existing record was broken, but wouldn’t it be nice to see another vehicle own that record? I surely wouldn’t mind, as I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t either.

To be fair, there’s still a lot of work to do before the streamliner is ready to set any sort of records. It’s no coincidence that the announcement was made this early. The people behind the project need time to get the get a lot of things sorted out before the car is ready, including what organizers describe as the “pit stop from hell.” Apparently, the record-setting run will also include a 40-minute period between timed runs wherein the car will be checked, refuelled, and made ready for the return leg.

I do hope that the Bloodhound will accomplish what it set out to do. A lot of people have invested time, money, and effort into making this a reality. All that’s left to do is to ensure that from today until it’s run, the whole project doesn’t suffer any unforeseen setbacks.

Press Release

On October 15th 1997 Andy Green went supersonic in Thrust SSC and set a new World Land Speed Record of 763.035 mph (1227.985 km/h). Twenty years on, that record remains unchallenged.

In October 2017, the team behind the BLOODHOUND Supersonic Car aims to change that and today formally announced the start of preparations for its first World Land Speed Record campaign.

The recent signing of major deals means The BLOODHOUND Project now has sufficient funding pledged to complete the car and start the countdown to high speed testing at the Hakskeen Pan, Northern Cape, South Africa, in Autumn next year. The identity of the new partner(s) will be revealed in due course.

With BLOODHOUND engineers returning to the Project, having taken short term contracts elsewhere, a major programme of work to become ‘race ready’ now begins in earnest.

The Car displayed to widespread acclaim in September 2015 was a ‘trial-build’, without fluids, done in part to check the fit of over 3500 bespoke components. Conventional motor manufacturers typically build hundreds of pre-production prototypes to finalise details. As there is only one BLOODHOUND SSC, the Project used this opportunity to see if brackets were in the right place, key components accessible for servicing and one-off parts manufactured to the correct tolerances.

The team will now disassemble the 13.5m long streamliner, documenting the process in fine detail, to create the BLOODHOUND User Manual. Given that, at some point in the future, engineers may be working on the world’s most complex racing car, at 2am, in the Kalahari desert, an accurate illustrated guide will be essential piece of kit.

Where necessary, modifications will be made and new parts created before BLOODHOUND SSC is reassembled and transported to Newquay Aerohub for tie-down tests with its EJ200 jet and Nammo rocket system in place.

The jet is a tried and tested component used by Rolls-Royce to develop the production engines for the Eurofighter Typhoon. The rocket is a new design however and further work will be required before engineers sign it off for use in the car.

BLOODHOUND SSC will travel under its own power for the first time at Newquay in June 2017, in a slow speed (c.220 mph / 354 km/h) shakedown test. This will also be an opportunity for the team to practice live-streaming data and imagery from the car - a key aspect of BLOODHOUND’s mission to share the adventure with a global audience.

By this time the team’s Rapid Response and Turnaround Crews will have done extensive training ready to support high speed running in South Africa. This will include rehearsing ‘the pit stop from hell’: an intense 40 minute period between timed runs during which time the car will be checked, refueled and made ready for the return leg. This ‘race within a race’ is crucial to setting a record: in 1997 a delay of just a few seconds cost the team the top prize during an early record attempt.

With the Shakedown Test successfully completed, BLOODHOUND SSC will be loaded onto a CargoLogicAir Boeing 747 freighter to be airlifted to Upington, South Africa. It will then be transported by road to the team’s desert base at Hakskeen Pan. Under the guidance of Operations Director Martyn Davidson, 16 container-loads of equipment will have been shipped in advance and a self-contained village complete with workshop and TV studios set up.

The first practice loading of BLOODHOUND SSC into the 747 will take place during the Farnborough International Airshow on Monday 11th July.

Project Director Richard Noble said, “This is probably the biggest moment in the Project’s history. Before we could only see financially a few months ahead but now we can put our foot down and really go for it!

We’re in this position thanks to the incredible support of our partners and sponsors, and the dedication and sacrifice of many people, including a skeleton crew who have held the fort and quite literally kept the lights on.

Most of all it has been the amazing public response that has sustained us. Thousands of children up and down the country are racing Model Rocket Cars and there is tremendous public enthusiasm for the Project wherever we go.

We have come through this difficult stage wiser, leaner and fitter. BLOODHOUND is now in Race Preparation which means the pace and the pressure will ramp up but so too will the sense of satisfaction as we head towards our Car breaking the sound barrier for the first time, with the world watching!”

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