We came to show the world Bloodhound is go,” says Bloodhound supersonic car (SCC) driver Andy Green.In October, t
he Bloodhound proved to be top dog as it successfully concluded its first official run, stretching its legs at 200 mph (322 km/h) on the Newquay Airport runway, in Cornwall, in the UK.
The car spent 22 minutes on the runway, completing two runs, to the delight of the assembled crowd.
The vehicle travelled from zero to 200 mph in under 8 seconds, accelerating at 1.5 G.
“It was brilliant,” says Green. “The car is meant to be a supersonic car and we used it to do drag racing on a runway.
“Stopping a slippery 5 t car, running on low-grip aircraft tyres, is a challenge within the relatively limited length of the 2.7 km runway, particularly as the car continues accelerating after I lift off the throttle,” he adds.
“I discovered during the initial dynamic tests that, to get the car to 200 mph, I would have to take my foot off the throttle at 130 mph as it then carries on accelerating for another two seconds. And then, to slow down, I need to apply gentle pressure to the brakes for two seconds to ‘warm up’ the carbon fibre disk brakes before applying full force on the brakes to stop the car.”
The Bloodhound team gathered valuable information from the Newquay run, such as brake temperatures. (The brakes heated up to nearly 1 000 ºC.)
It was Green’s first opportunity to drive the car.
“The Newquay tests have gone better than anyone dared hope and that is testament to the many years of research and design invested in the Bloodhound SCC,” says Bloodhound chief engineer Mark Chapman.
“It is a one-off prototype with over 3 500 bespoke parts, so to see it performing so well today is a hugely satisfying experience. It’s like a greyhound, not a bloodhound.”
October was the month that British Royal Air Force fighter pilot Green also celebrated the twentieth anniversary of being the first and only man to ever break the sound barrier in a car, setting the current world land-speed record at 763.035 mph (1 227.98 km/h).
The Newquay run was the start of the Bloodhound team’s campaign to be the first to break the 1 000 mph (1 609 km/h) limit in a car.
The Bloodhound – 13.4 m long and weighing 7.5 t – will aim to break the record on Hakskeen Pan, in the Northern Cape, in 2018 or 2019, should the team secure the necessary funding for an extended desert campaign.
There is no scope to increase speeds significantly in the UK as there is no runway long enough or tyres available to withstand the loads generated by the Bloodhound SSC beyond 250 mph.