30 years this month (October 2013 pending on when you are reading this) a gentleman named Richard Nobel grabbed the headlines with his Rolls Royce jet engine car Thrust 2, by securing the World Land Speed Record – “For Britain And The Hell Of It”. Of course in the Autumn of 1997 the record was bettered by the Thrust SSC, a project run by Nobel but piloted by RAF Squadron Leader Andy Green. This was in response to a challenge from the American Craig Breedlove and his Spirit of America – Sonic Arrow, and now following several other possible challenges, the most likely from the Australian squad – Aussie Invader.
So the team are going for it once again with the Bloodhound SSC, named after the missile designed by chief aerodynamicist Ron Ayres who is working on this project.
Having also penned the Thrust SSC and the JCB DieselMax record breaker (also driven by Green) the project is in full swing and looking to run at “low speeds” in early 2015 before mounting an assault on the record in 2016, the target 1000 MPH! In order to achieve this the team will once again be using a Rolls Royce jet engine this time taken from a Typhoon Jet Fighter and a hydrogen peroxide solid rocket booster. There is however a third engine in this car, although it’s not being used to propel the vehicle….seated in the middle somewhere between the miles of cables, and highly flammable petrochemicals you will find a Cosworth Formula 1 engine. Its sole purpose is to pump the hydrogen peroxide into the solid rocket booster as quickly as possible, to maintain speeds of Mach 1.4.
If this behemoth of engineering works pulls off – and have no reason to doubt the team involved – it will truly be a wonder of modern engineering, and probably become the longest standing of all the land speed records. Period.
People say you should never meet your idols, you’ll only be disappointed…this may be true of movie stars, rock stars, sports men and women or TV personalities, but I’ve been lucky enough to meet Mr Nobel on 2 or 3 occasions now as a result of this project and I cannot help but still be in complete awe of him, and what he has and hopes to achieve.
If you haven’t already please take a look at the Bloodhound website, donate, join the club – I have. Put your name on the fin, buy a shirt, anything! Your £10 or so may not seem like much, but in late 2016 when the news reports show Wing Commander Andy Green doing speeds in excess of 1000 MPH in South Africa how good will it feel to sit back and say: “I helped make that happen.”