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Fastest man visits NC ‘race track’

2012-07-25 11:52

THE REAL DEAL: A model of the Bloodhound SSC seen at the car's launch.

The land speed record holder Andy Green visited Hakskeenpan in the Northern Cape on July 24, 2012 to view progress of the “world’s fastest race track”.

With funding from the Northern Cape government, 300 people were joined by a number of volunteers to clear 10 million square meters for the desert track over two year. Only two months’ work remains on the run-off areas to the 500m wide, 20km long stretch of desert, the Trust SSC team said.

Green, a serving officer with the Royal Air Force, will begin testing his Bloodhound SuperSonic Car during the summer of 2013. He is the current land speed record holder, after setting a speed of 1228km/h in October, 1997.


The Bloodhound SuperSonic car, it is claimed, will be able to accelerate from 0 – 1609 km/h and back to zero in just 120 seconds.

Green said: “I’m standing in the middle of the Hakskeenpan on a perfectly cloudless winter's day and looking 10 km in each direction I’m standing in the middle of what is rapidly becoming the world’s best race track. The team of 300 South African workers has now finished clearing the main track and is now preparing the safety areas.  

“They have already cleared 10 million square metres by hand and left the most perfect surface to run on. We are enormously grateful for the fantastic support from the Northern Cape, because without their help we couldn’t have done this.”

Currently well into the building phase of the project, large sections of the car are in manufacture and Bloodhound engineers will have a rolling chassis assembled by the end 2012. They aim to start UK runway testing up to 321 km/h by mid-2013 after which the team will decamp to Hakskeenpan to start the high speed shake down runs.


But other than aiming to set a new land speed record, the project is also an “international education initiative aimed at inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians”.

This is accredited, Trust SSC said, to the record attempt being more about confronting the law of physics rather than other teams using similar technology. As a result, about seven million learners from 48 countries have registered to access Bloodhound information and lesson materials in class.

Dave Rowley from the Bloodhound education team is now based full-time in South Africa with the Northern Cape department of education developing links with schools, colleges and universities across the country.  Already 45 local schools have signed up with the education programme.

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