BLOODHOUND SSC (super sonic car) will be driven by Wing Commander Andy Green who set the current record of 763mph (1228kmh) at the controls of ThrustSSC on 15th October 1997. If the new vehicle achieves its target of 1,000mph (Mach 1.4) it will mark the greatest ncremental increase in the history of the World Land Speed Record; it will also exceed the low altitude speed record for aircraft (c.994mph).
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.
Unlike all other forms of motorsport, there are virtually no restrictions imposed on the design of a land speed record challenger; each car is a bespoke creation. It therefore means that BLOODHOUND SSC technology and research can be shared with the public, as it is unlikely to provide an advantage to any other team – in stark contrast to, say, Formula 1.
As the ultimate, unlimited racing car, BLOODHOUND SSC will also be the catalyst for a raft of cutting-edge research in fields such as aerodynamics, computational fluid dynamics, materials technology, composite manufacturing and sustainable high-tech engineering.
The numbers generated by initial studies, conducted in secret over the past 18 months, give some idea of the challenges ahead. The 12.8m long, 6,422kg (fuelled), jet and rocket-powered vehicle will be more advanced than most spacecraft and faster than a bullet fired from a handgun. Its
900mm diameter wheels will spin at over 10,000rpm, generating 50,000 radial g at the rim. The car will accelerate from 0 – 1,050mph in 40 seconds and at V-max (maximum velocity), the pressure of air bearing down on its carbon fibre and titanium bodywork will exceed twelve tonnes per square metre. At this speed, Andy Green will be covering a distance equivalent to over four football pitches every second, or 50m in the blink of an eye.
Designing, building and running BLOODHOUND SSC will be a unique engineering adventure, one that will be shared with the public every step of the way. Eleven years ago, the ThrustSSC website became one of the most popular in the world; The BLOODHOUND Project aims to surpass this. The Project will also make full use of channels such as YouTube, Twitter and other social networking sites to keep a global audience up to date with every breakthrough, set back and triumph. The Project launch will be followed by a week-long exhibition at the Science Museum, London, where the public can meet the team.
The prime objective of The BLOODHOUND Project is to create an unprecedented education and engagement programme, led by a dedicated team of teachers and education specialists. From innovative, curriculum based lesson plans covering subjects ranging from geography to citizenship, as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics, to a schools visitor centre featuring the ‘classroom of the future’ at the team’s HQ in Filton, Bristol, the aim is to make BLOODHOUND SSC accessible to all ages from 5 – 19 and beyond.
The BLOODHOUND Project is a private venture. Government is part funding the three year education programme but not the build and running costs of the car. These costs will be covered by sponsorships. Founder sponsors include Swansea University, STP, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Serco and the University of The West of England.
The BLOODHOUND Project is an iconic adventure that will push technology to its limit. In trying to set what research suggests may be the ultimate land speed record, a team of British engineers, designers, mathematicians and technologists hope to tell a new story of science that will fascinate and inspire all those who hear it. Minister of State for Science and Innovation, Lord Drayson, said: “Breaking world land speed records is no longer about strapping an engine onto a buggy and pointing it at the horizon. Today, the application of new and exciting science and technology is the only way to achieve such results. If BLOODHOUND SSC is to reach its target of Mach 1.4, equivalent to 1,000 miles per hour, the team behind it will need to solve some ambitious challenges in science, engineering and maths. From constructing the largest hybrid rocket motor ever built in the UK, to making major advances in sensor technology and designing wheels to cope with these incredible forces. Britain has a wonderful heritage of rising to the challenge and this exciting project will see that continue.
“This project is not just about the bragging rights to the world land speed record. This will result in tangible scientific developments that will benefit all, for example in areas such as fuel efficiency and safety and which could be used in the cars we drive in the future.
“The development of BLOODHOUND SSC from the drawing board to a 1,000mph reality will be open for all to see at every stage. The project’s involvement with young people is vital to inspire them about the exciting things that can be achieved by science and engineering. Ultimately, I hope that this iconic British project will encourage the next generation of scientists and engineers as we will depend on them to find the solutions to everything from climate change to growing population pressures.”
“There has never been anything like BLOODHOUND SSC before,” said Richard Noble OBE, Project Director. “It is undoubtedly the most stimulating and challenging programme I’ve ever been involved with. The next three years are going to be tough, testing and damned exciting!”
Andy Green said: “I’ve met graduate engineers who are adamant that our previous record was what inspired their career choice as youngsters: that sort of thing makes all the effort worthwhile. BLOODHOUND SSC will be so much faster and, we hope, will fire up every school kid about the science and technology. We’re going to invite everyone to follow our adventure in this, the most exciting and extreme form of motorsport – the World Land Speed Record. Both as a Mathematician, and as a Royal Air Force Fighter Pilot, I can’t think of anything better.”