Bloodhound SSC Set to Break the 1,000 mph Barrier


With a jet engine and a rocket, the new British attempt to set a new Land Speed Record is now closer to fruition.

How fast can go a car with a 2.4-liter V8 Cosworth F1 engine? Well, if it's an F1 car, top speed is expected at around 200 mph, but if it is the Bloodhound SSC, then you can multiply this figure by five and add 1 mph in order to ensure that it breaks the 1,000 mph barrier. But then the Cosworth engine is not supposed to propel the car; it just acts as a 'passenger' by activating a fuel pump in Richard Noble's new Land Speed Record breaker.

Noble has a history stretching back more than three decades in the Land Speed Record business. He personally held that record from 1983 and 1997 after setting a speed of 633 mph in the Thrust2. Following his first success, he arranged, managed, and then built the first, and so far the only land vehicle that has broken the sound barrier, the Thrust SSC. The pilot was wing commander Andy Green who is also expected to sit in the cockpit of the new Bloodhound SSC (Super Sonic Car). This is a new LSR vehicle that is designed to break the 1,000 mph barrier, while its three steel wheels are still kissing earth.

Designing the vehicle and fund raising were both launched almost five year ago, exactly as the world's banking system melted down and the world economy was on the precipice. However, Noble is an experienced hand in the business and he has patiently established the organization, recruited sponsors and technical partners. Once the design was completed, the organization issued a tender to build it. By the end of the year it should be completed and by 2013 a new LSR should be established. At the heart of the vehicle there are three engines: an EJ200 jet engine with a thrust of 20,200lb-ft, a hybrid rocket with a thrust of 27,500lb-ft, and the Cosworth engine with 800hp.

The turbofan jet engine, which can also be found in the Eurofighter Typhoon, should propel the car in the initial stages of acceleration. The rocket should keep the acceleration momentum up through the top speed and the Cosworth V8 should activate the oxidizer pump for less than 20 seconds in which over a ton of liquid rocket propellant will be pumped in which will produce the needed thrust. The three engines operate in sequential mode with some overlapping stages. The jet engine is the first to be fired and pushes the car to about 600 mph.

This is followed by the start-up of the Cosworth that activates the HTP pump which pumps the HTP (Hydrogen Peroxide) at a rate of 35-liters/second for about 20 seconds to the rocket's main chamber. A chemical reaction is then responsible to create heat and the energy that should push the vehicle further, beyond the 1,000 mph. The Bloodhound SSC itself is 43 feet long, 9 feet 2 inches high, and has a fully loaded mass of 14,158 pounds. The wheel diameter is 35.4 inches and the turning radius is 394 feet.

Top speed is 1,050 mph (Mach 1.4) or 469 meters per second when the wheels do 10,300 rpm. The combined thrust of the two engines, which will operate simultaneously in the acceleration's final phase, is 47,900lb-ft. Andy Green, the car's cold-blooded pilot has spoken recently about the project and the build up for the LSR attempts, a few weeks ago at Autosport International. "We've spent five years in the design phase and we've got a clear 1000 mph-potential car," said Green. "This is the year we build it and put it on its wheels - a very, very exciting time.

"By the middle of the [next] year we will be driving it up and down on runways and testing it up to 200mph." Noble plans for the LSR attempt to take place in South Africa on a special surface being prepared specifically for that attempt. Green said that organizers in South Africa have already cleared by hand 10 million square meters and they are about to clear another 12 million square meter as a safety zone in case the car veers off the track. "A fast car is 200mph; a fast car for us is 1000mph - 25 times the aerodynamic load, 25 times the load through the suspension. Here a powerful car has 1000hp; for us its 133,000.

We're using a Formula 1 engine just to drive the pump for the rocket motor." So whether the internal combustion engine pushes it or not (and 'not' is the right answer here) the V8 2.4-liter F1 Cosworth engine is going to be the fastest ever Cosworth engine.

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