TECH

Bloodhound SSC: Everything You Need To Know About The 1,000mph Car

A breathtaking feat of engineering.

26/10/2017 16:08 BST

The Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC) has been designed for one single purpose: To be the first car ever to reach 1,000mph.

Costing a staggering £10m and taking almost a decade to design and build Bloodhound is frankly a breathtaking feat of engineering.

The car won’t make its record-breaking run in South Africa until 2019 but has already carried out a number of test runs at Newquay Airport as the team work through every minute detail on the car.

We’ve compiled some of the most mind-blowing stats around the car and what makes it so special.

The car will be piloted by RAF Wing Commander Andy Green who also happened to drive the last car to set the speed record Thrust SSC.

David Taylor via Getty Images
The Thrust SSC Land Speed Racer races down the Nevada desert floor.

Bloodhound SSC however is a very different kettle of fish, boasting some major differences to the original car that broke the record back in 1997.

For starters Bloodhound SSC uses three types of engine. There’s a Jaguar F-Type V8 engine which will solely be used to pump the rocket fuel to the two rocket engines.

Then on top there’s a Eurojet EJ200 jet engine. Loaned to the team by the Ministry of Defence, the engine has been taken directly from one of the world’s most advanced fighter jets the Eurofighter Typhoon and is capable of generating a staggering 9 tonnes of thrust.

Bloodhound

It is this vast jet engine that will drive the Bloodhound to around 650mph.

Once it reaches around 600-650mph the Bloodhound will engage its third and final engine, a trio of hybrid rockets that will push the car to its absolute limit and hopefully help it surpass the 1,000mph barrier.

Bloodhound

Being developed by the Norwegian aerospace company Nammo, these hybrid rockets will generate eight times more thrust than every single F1 car on the starting grid combined.

Nammo’s rocket isn’t just being developed for the Bloodhound as they’ll eventually be used for future satellite launches by the European Space Agency.

So that Bloodhound can even reach the 1,000mph threshold the team have had to completely redesign the wheels on the car.

While the tests in Newquay will see Bloodhound utilise conventional rubber tyres from an old Lightning fighter jet these will simply not do for a 1,000mph run in the desert.

Once you’re reaching those speeds the wheels actually stop becoming a form of traction and instead act more like sleds.

Bloodhound

As such the team have developed completely aluminium discs, capable of withstanding the incredible forces needed to keep the car stable.

Each wheel is capable of spinning at 10,000 rpm, while supporting a 7.5 tonne vehicle. During maximum speeds it’ll also be experiencing forces of around 50,000kg at the wheel rim.

Finally there’s the brakes because of course once you’ve reached 1,000mph you need to then slow the car back down again.

Bloodhound

The car has three main braking systems. The first is a powerful airbrake that will deploy at either side of the car. This will provide around 6 tonnes of drag on the vehicle.

Then as the car reaches a lower speed Green will deploy the parachute which will then add a further 9 tonnes of drag onto the car (about the same as a double decker bus).

Finally, and only when the car has reached safe limits, will the specially-built front brakes apply to the wheels themselves. According to the team they tried using conventional brakes but they exploded.

If that sounds like a lot, consider then that at 1,000mph the car will already be experiencing around 20 tonnes of drag already so every possible ounce of drag is needed when braking.