Supersonic car to be tested on South African dry bed race track next year


A British car designed to reach 1,000mph will be tested for the first time on its South African dry bed race track in October next year, it has been disclosed.

Bloodhound SSC will be tested at Hakskeen Pan, Northern Cape with the team behind the supersonic car aiming for the 500mph milestone.

In October, Bloodhound, which is driven by ex-RAF fighter pilot Andy Green, reached 200mph during trials at Cornwall Airport in Newquay.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

The car is a combination of a fighter jet, a Formula One car and a spaceship and is fitted with an EJ200 jet engine, sourced from a Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

The team said the trials would test Bloodhound's performance and handling during one of its most vulnerable phases - the point between 400mph and 500mph.

The stability of the car transitions from being governed by the interaction of the wheels with the desert surface to being controlled by the its aerodynamics.

The grip from the wheels will fall off faster than the aerodynamic forces build up, so this is likely to be the point where the car is at its least stable.

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The team, which is based in Bristol, said hundreds of gigabytes of data would be gathered by more than 500 sensors built into Bloodhound during testing.

The car will run for the first time with its solid 900mm wide, 95kg aluminium wheels, specially designed for the desert surface.

They are designed to spin at up to 10,200rpm - more than four times faster than the wheels on an F1 car at top speed.

Driver Andy Green. (Nick Ansell/PA)
Driver Andy Green. (Nick Ansell/PA)

The 12-mile desert race track has been prepared by 317 members of the local Mier community, who have moved 16,000 tonnes of rock from 22 million square metres of dry lakebed.

The car will attempt to break the land speed record in South Africa in 2019.

Mr Green, who was the driver of the Thrust SSC team as it set the current record of 763mph in 1997, said: "Bloodhound 500 is a key milestone on the route to setting a 1,000mph record.

"Building on everything we learned in Newquay this October, we'll learn a tremendous amount by going fast on the desert the car was designed to run on."