The next major chapter in Bloodhound’s story is set to take place in Cornwall on October 26th, when the record-chasing car makes its first ever public run.
Ahead of its attempt on the world land speed record in South Africa next year, Bloodhound will hit the tarmac at Cornwall Airport Newquay, twenty years after Andy Green set the current record in Thrust SSC. Green will once again be at the wheel, taking control of Bloodhound for the very first time. Before that, however, the car will undergo a month of ‘tie-down’ trials, where systems including the EJ200 jet engine are tested with Bloodhound chained to the ground.
According to the Bloodhound team, one of the key concerns is how the former Eurofighter Typhoon jet engine will perform at low speeds. Designed to operate best at speeds over 800mph, the engineers will need to establish how quickly full power can be applied, which in turn will minimise the risk to engine, car and pilot. Building on this information, chief aerodynamicist Ron Ayers will then be able to plan the sequence of runs in South Africa, extrapolating from the acceleration data. Bloodhound’s air intake, fuel and electrical systems will also be put through their paces while the vehicle is static.
All going well, the car will undergo its first dynamic test on the 26th, reaching a speed of 200mph on the 1.7mile (2.7km) long runway. For the Newquay tests, Bloodhound will be powered by the jet engine alone and use wheels shod with 84cm pneumatic tyres from an English Electric Lightning fighter, specially reconditioned by Dunlop. As these are slightly thicker than the solid aluminium wheels that will be used in the South African desert, some sections of the car’s carbon fibre bodywork will be removed. The airport trials will also be the first chance for Bloodhound’s crew to practice in a live environment, testing radio communications and safety protocols.
“The runway trials at Cornwall Airport Newquay will be the biggest milestone in the history of the project so far,” said project director Richard Noble. “They will provide important data on the performance of the car and give us a first opportunity to rehearse the procedures we’ll use when we go record breaking.”
“Just as importantly, it is a way of saying ‘thank you’, to the schools, students, families and companies, big and small, who support the project. We are proud to be waving a flag for British skills and innovation on a world stage but, most of all, this is about inspiring young people. Last year alone we directly engaged with over 100,000 students in the UK and we have already seen more students take up engineering as result of Project Bloodhound. With the car running, we can showcase science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the most exciting way possible.”