The Daily Mail Transatlantic Air Race, 1969
During the flight, the Harrier was refuelled eleven times by a fleet of tanker-aircraft. If the notion of a car capable of 1,000mph seems abstract, even absurd, don't entertain that thought any more. Fact is, it may very well be feasible – and there has been sufficient support forthcoming to test the theory all the way. The man behind this audacious venture is Richard Noble, whose form in the speed-record arena has few equals. His car, 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. The somewhat unlikely setting was a runway at Newquay airport, a destination favoured by holidaymakers seeking the sunshine, surf and sandy beaches that Cornwall 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 and develops the equivalent of 54,000 horsepower, or the combined output of 360 typical family cars. And the car ran with rubber tyres fitted, as one might expect on a runway, whereas it will be running with special steel rims when it reaches the venue for the record attempt, Hakskeen Pan in the north-western corner of South Africa.
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 follow in a few months, this time with the rocket engine making its contribution to the incendiary display.
The Bloodhound project has endured innumerable setbacks in pursuit of its goal, but there are few who can have seriously doubted Noble's ability to overcome them, as his tenacity is well known. If the British squad is successful, the World Land Speed Record will have been pushed beyond the reach of any country for generations to come. And the seemingly impossible will have become fact.
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.
Images this page © David Isaac