1,000mph? Ultimate supercar for most audacious World Land Speed Record challenge yet
If the notion of a car capable of 1,000mph seems abstract, even absurd, there are those who feel it may very well be feasible – and they have had sufficient support in cash and kind to indicate that a great many others share their belief. The man behind this audacious venture was Richard Noble, whose form in the speed-record arena has few equals. The car, named BloodhoundSSC, is propelled not only by a jet engine but a rocket too, so there's no shortage of power.
Following delays that are commonplace in the speed-record game, the car turned its wheels in anger for the first time in October 2017. The somewhat unlikely setting was a runway at Cornwall Airport Newquay, a destination favoured by holidaymakers seeking the sunshine, surf and sandy beaches that this part of England is famous for. But it proved an ideal location for shake-down trials of the car that is surely the very last word in automotive oomph.
For the Newquay tests, only the jet was used, but it was quite sufficient to cause a stir, as it's the same engine that powers the Eurofighter Typhoon multirole fighter aircraft and develops the equivalent of 54,000 horsepower, or the combined output of 360 typical family cars. Bloodhound ran with rubber tyres fitted, as one might expect on a runway, whereas it will have to run with specially-developed steel rims when it reaches the intended venue for the record attempt, the mud and salt Hakskeenpan in the north-western corner of South Africa, in the vast Kalahari Desert.
Although the car is built from a variety of materials, almost all of the front half is made from carbonfibre. A peak speed of 210 mph was recorded at Newquay, in under eight seconds from a standing start. This surpassed expectations and showed that the car's design is spot-on. More trials will have to follow, and the rocket engine has yet to make its contribution to the incendiary display, so the car's full capability remains as yet unproven.
The difficulties are profound. The Bloodhound project has endured innumerable setbacks in pursuit of its goal, and even reached the point of Dissolution following several unfruitful weeks in Administration, until a wealthy Yorkshire businessman stepped in to save it – rebranding it as BloodhoundLSR – while Noble himself stepped aside. But if the resurrection is successful and the British squad ultimately triumphs, the World Land Speed Record will have been pushed beyond the reach of any other country for generations to come – and the seemingly impossible will have become fact. If not, Britain holds the record in any case, and wresting it away with a faster speed may very well prove beyond the ability of any other nation.
Both photos on this page were taken by Quicksilver Corporate Club member David Isaac. David was one of many Quicksilver supporters who travelled to Newquay to be part of the 3,500-strong crowd that gathered to witness the test runs and cheer-on the Bloodhound team.
Further developments are awaited with great interest. For more information visit www.bloodhoundlsr.com
Images © David Isaac