Fastest man on wheels in SA

2013-03-14 08:17

Johannesburg - RAF Wing Commander Andy Green, holder of the world land speed record and the first person to exceed the speed of sound on land, made a pit stop in Johannesburg ahead of his next record bid in South Africa.

Wheels24 was there to meet him…


Green was in SA for a media update on preparations for the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car with which he intends to set a land speed record of 1609km/h in the Northern Cape in 2014.

The Bloodhound Project is a three-year mission led by project director Richard Noble to create a car capable of achieving 1600km/h. The primary goal is to inspire future generations to take up career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by showcasing these subjects in the most exciting way possible.

Green said: “I’m honoured to be part of a project that not only seeks to make history but also aims to inspire youth to take up studies in mathematics and science. The Bloodhound SSC team is focused on using exciting innovations to encourage a culture and interest in studies that will advance technology. We are delighted to have partnered with MTN to showcase this momentous event on the World Wide Web.”

Bloodhound SSC is the result of remarkable engineering that will allow this vehicle to travel 1.6km in only 2.6 seconds - significantly faster than a bullet from a .357 Magnum - though it weighs just more than seven tonnes and is nearly 14m long. Its engines produce more than 100 000kW - about the same as 160 Formula 1 cars!


Driving at such speed is a high-risk undertaking that needs unprecedented design expertise and engineering precision. The design team uses world-leading aerodynamic research and “computational fluid dynamic” modelling along with Europe's most powerful computers to make sure Bloodhound stays Earthbound and stable throughout its runs.

Safety? Green made it sound simple: “Basically, all we need to do is to keep the shiny side up and the pointy end facing forward!”

He went on to explain that the safety and stability features of the car's design incorporated lessons learnt from Thrust SSC, the vehicle Green used to set the current land speed record.

International interest in the project is huge and local communications sponsor MTN will provide voice and data connectivity for the Bloodhound crew. MTN will also enable the downloading of on-car data and HD streaming video to a 'Fibre Point of Presence' in Upington, Northern Cape, allowing it to be uploaded to the web in real time.


Project leader Richard Noble said: "Building the car is a mammoth task with more than 3000 specially designed and about to be made components. There is a huge volume of activity and the  Bloodhound engineering team is absolutely determined to have the car on its wheels with the EJ200 engine running by October 2013 and we all came to the conclusion that this is achievable. 

"By the end of 2013 crucial components such as  the tailfin will still be in manufacture and its quite clear that we won’t be in South Africa for December as we had hoped."

So when will the project be completed?

Noble said: "We felt strongly that we should avoid deadline creep; we should  set an achievable date and deliver. So it's second quarter (April/May/June) 2014 but there’s one more important point -  this is turning into a truly tremendous team and we are going to try and beat that if we can.

"See you on the Pan in 2014 - if not before."

To find out more visit the project's website!

  • riotousr - 2013-03-14 09:52

    100000kw. It is the thrust that counts. How do the revvs sound. How high does the revv counter go. I wanna be there. Any offers?

  • jeremy thorpe - 2013-03-14 10:14

    I was at 702 back in '97 when the same team was breaking the speed of sound in Thrust SSC. Both completely pointless exercises - but you can only gape in admiration and delight at the sight and sound of these immense beasts tearing along at speeds you can barely imagine! Thrust SSC was a massive black thing with two huge jets. I get shivers up the back of my neck even now thinking of how it looked and sounded at 760mph on the Black Rock Desert. How fantastic it'll be to have its successor hopefully breaking more records right here in SA.....

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