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Bloodhound SSC spits fire - One step closer to land speed record in SA

2017-10-04 09:48

Image: Supplied

Northern Cape - On Friday, 29 September 2017, the Bloodhound team achieved a huge engineering milestone when they successfully started up the state-of-the-art EJ200 jet engine which had been installed in the car.

The team took the engine to max reheat (aka afterburner), while Bloodhound SSC Driver Andy Green sat in the cockpit throttling the jet engine with his right foot.

The car was tied down to a secure anchor point on the southern side of Cornwall Airport Newquay in the United Kingdom.

Jet engine

Data from the sensors on the car confirmed the jet engine produced the expected thrust during maximum reheat.

“What a fantastic ending to the end of our first week of testing,” says Stuart Edmondson, Head of Bloodhound’s engineering operations. “Integrating a Eurofighter Typhoon jet engine into the car is a huge challenge. However, we have succeeded!”

Edmonton continues: “Witnessing the EJ200 jet engine at maximum reheat is a fantastic experience. Not only can you see the shock diamonds and hear the deafening noise, you can physically feel the power of the engine as your body shakes.”

Watch: 

With the static tests complete the Team will move onto dynamic testing and get ready for the high speed, about 322km/h, trials at the end of October.

Schedule to come to South Arica

It is the Bloodhound team’s ambition to go to South Africa as soon as technology, track conditions and funding allow. 

“As things currently stand we will not be deploying in 2018,” says Richard Knight, the team’s director of communications.

“The car is coming together well and the team is excited about running it in front of a global audience at Newquay on October 26th. Once we complete the trials, attention will focus on completing the development of the rocket that will be used, in conjunction with the EJ200 jet engine, to power Bloodhound SSC to a new World Land Speed Record.”

More funds needed

The time-frame in which this work can be completed depends not only on funding but also on the availability of rocket engineers and test facilities, which are both unknown at this time.

“The track at Hakskeenpan is in superb condition, with comparatively little work left to do to prepare it for record breaking. In planning our visit to South Africa weather is a factor we have to consider, as Hakskeenpan is a registered watercourse that can flood for extended periods between the months of November and April.”

The team still need to raise the funds to complete the car to desert-standard – complete with rocket system – and to mount a two to three-month international logistic and desert campaign. Oracle Cloud Solutions recently joined the project and the team will be announcing another international brand partnership ahead of the Newquay test. 

“Good progress is being made on the sponsorship front,” says Knight. “We have a number of other large deals under discussion so we expect to have more good news to follow soon.” 

Public support for the project is stronger than ever, as evidenced by the thousands of people purchasing tickets to watch the car run at Newquay over the period 26th-30th October. 

Knight says that while it took longer to raise the cash needed, the team has eventually been successful in in building the fastest, most complex racing car in the world, and it will run in public at the end of October. 

“The reason we're doing all this is to inspire kids about science and engineering. That's ‘Job number one’ and it is going brilliantly. We are already getting reports of more people going to university to study engineering, and that's without the car turning a wheel.”

Runway trials

The two runway trials at the Newquay Airport in the United Kingdom on the 26th October will mark the culmination of a month of tests to check the car’s steering, brakes, suspension and data systems, as well as the efficiency of the intake feeding air to the EJ200 jet engine, sourced from a Eurofighter Typhoon. 

The event will be open to the public on 28 October, while the 26th October will serve as a media day. The media day will include two 200mph runs, starting at 14:30 (South African time). This will be live-streamed from on board cameras, including a 360°camera cockpit view.

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