Supersonic land speed record car gets a kick in the butt courtesy of Rolls-Royce - the aerospace company, not the luxury automaker.
When you think of a Rolls-Royce, you tend to imagine luxury before you imagine speed. Sure, they pack V12 engines displacing more than six and a half liters and producing between 450 and 624 horsepower, but the capacity for speed is really only designed into a modern Rolls because of the convenience and luxury it affords. Seeing the Rolls-Royce name and logo on a car designed for nothing but speed, then, is something of a rarity. But then this "car" is barely a car at all – it's much closer to a jet aircraft on wheels.
We're talking about the Bloodhound SSC (standing for Super Sonic Car, not Shelby SuperCars), a jet-powered land speed record car that aims to reach 1,000 mph on solid ground. And the Rolls-Royce in question is not the automaker, but the aerospace company that has long since separated from the company that makes luxury cars. Rolls-Royce Group plc (as the jet propulsion concern is called) supplies the EJ200 jet engine that - together with a Cosworth F1 engine - propels the Bloodhound SSC, and has done so for five years now, but has just now signed on as an official sponsor and technical partner for the program.
The EJ200 is the same engine that powers the Eurofighter Typhoon jet aircraft, producing as much as 20,000 lbs of thrust on afterburn. At sea level, it's expected to propel the Bloodhound over eight kilometers of flat land in just 100 seconds. It's not the first time a Rolls-Royce jet engine has been used for such a record attempt, but it is the first time that the company has officially participated in the endeavor. (Photos by Stefan Marjoram for Bloodhound SSC.)