By Spencer Hart Last updated
The Bloodhound SSC is the UK's latest attempt at breaking the land speed record. It's a supersonic car that, when complete, should able to achieve 1,000 mph.
The project is a collaboration between over 280 global companies, and has become a showcase for science and engineering. It's a monumental project, and if you want to catch up with all the details, here are 11 things you need to know.
1. It has three engines
Yep, the Bloodhound SSC is a triple threat, with power coming from a petrol engine, jet engine, and rocket engine.
The primary engine is a Rolls-Royce jet turbine borrowed from a Eurofighter Typhoon, this will take the car up to 300 mph. Once at 300mph the rocket will kick in, and power the SSC on to 1,000 mph.
The third engine is a supercharged V8 taken from a Jaguar F-Type, this will feed the rocket with hydrogen peroxide fuel.
These three engines will produce 133,151bhp, about the same as 180 Formula 1 cars.
This will help the car cover a mile in just 3.6 seconds (that's faster than a bullet!) and reach 1,000 mph in 55 seconds.
2. The record attempt will take place in South Africa
The date and location for the record attempt are set. Assuming everything goes to plan, the record attempt will take place in South Africa on the Hakskeen Pan dry lake bed.
Hakskeen Pan is over 11 miles long and 3 miles wide. It has already been prepared for the run, with over 300 locals employed to shift 15,800 tonnes of stone by hand.
The record will be set in two stages, on October 15, 2016, driver Andy Green will attempt to reach speeds of around 800 mph, breaking the current record of 763 mph.
If that goes to plan, he will then attempt to reach 1,000 mph in 2017.
3. The project started to stop an American stealing our record
Meet Richard Noble, the man behind the project. Noble was behind the wheel of the record breakingThurst2 in 1983.
Noble told T3, "We first broke the land speed record in 1983 with the Thrust2 car, we then followed that up in 1997 with the ThrustSSC car which was the first car to ever break the sound barrier on land. Huge public interest all over the world, in 1997 our website was the 5th largest in the world.
"There was an American called Steve Fossett. He's very famous for being the first to solo-ballon around the world, an amazing man. He had 110 world records, a lot of money, a lot of motivation, a lot of dedication. He decided he was after the land speed record, and that represented a real threat to us.
"So you can see the situation, what do you do? Do you just say 'well okay, let him get on with it', or shall we take him on? So we decided to take him on, but also we'd raise the bar so high that it would be very difficult for him to come back. That was the idea."
Sadly Fossett passed away before the competition could really get started, but the Bloodhound Project continued.
4. It's 13.5 metres long
The Bloodhound SSC is a large beast, specifically, the SSC measures 13.470 metres long, and 3 metres tall.
Wheel diameter is 0.915 metres and the turning circle is massive 120 metres (a London Bus' turning circle is a tiny, in comparison, 21 metres).
It weights 7786 kg, when fully fueled.
5. The cockpit has two computers
Above is what the driver will see when he's attempting the record, hasn't got great visibility, has it?
The cockpit is loaded with three screens, two Rolex speedometers (which go up to 1,100), a large number of switches and two computers.
Why two computers? One as a backup, in case the main computer fails, obviously.
6. The tyres are smooth
Although it seems rather counter-intuitive, the Bloodhound will have completely smooth wheels for running on the lake bed. The wheels are made from cast aluminium, and they'll rotate up to 10,200 rpm during the record attempt (that's 170 per second!).
7. It's got three stages of breaking
Getting up to 1,000 mph is difficult enough, but so is slowing the car down once it's reached top speed.
The SSC will have three stages of breaking, after hitting 1,000 mph, Andy Green will shut down the engines, allowing the car to naturally decelerate to around 800 mph.
At this point the car's air brakes will deploy, providing around 3g of braking force. Now below 600 mph, parachutes will deploy, slowing the car even faster.
Once below 250 mph, Green can finally apply the wheel brakes, bringing Bloodhound SSC to a complete stop.
Then it's time to turn around and go in the other direction, because the record must be the average of two runs.
8. It will be tested in Cornwall
It seems like an unlikely place to test a 1,000 mph car, but Newquay Cornwall Airport will be the testing ground for this impressive vehicle.
These tests will beingtowards the end of the year, and will involve using just the jet engine to reach speeds of around 200 mph.
It will allow the engineers to sign off on the electrical and software control systems. After that, it's over to South Africa for high-speed testing.
9. It'll be driven by RAF Pilot Andy Green
RAF Pilot Andy Green will be behind the wheel during the record attempt. Green already holds the current land speed record, with his experience, there's clearly no one better for the job.
10. It'll benefit education
The Bloodhound SSC may have started out as a vanity project, but it has now developed into a philanthropic and educational endeavour.
The Bloodhound Project will aim to inspire as many young people as possible to take up engineering and science. So far, they have reached 100,000 students, and they're aiming to reach 2.5 million school children by 2018.