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British Supersonic Racing Car Bloodhound LSR Designed to Set Land Speed Record

December 08, 2019 by Luke James

British-born Bloodhound LSR is a jet-engine-propelled vehicle that has been designed with one goal in mind: setting a new land speed record.

Land speed records aren't easily achieved, though; they take a whole lot of time and patience to set, but that hasn't stopped the Bloodhound LSR's design team who have spent a significant time out on the Hakskeenpan desert racetrack in South Africa. 

On October 28, 2019 the Bloodhound LSR managed to reach 334 miles per hour—the fastest it had ever gone—in only 20 seconds. Four days later, on November 1, the arrow-shaped race car managed to clock a speed of 461 mph (741km/h) as it shot across the dried-out lakebed whilst being piloted by Royal Air Force Wing Commander Andy Green OBE. 

The team behind Bloodhound LSR believes that the vehicle is more than capable of exceeding 500 mph in the near future. 


Reaching the Halfway Point

To get to their 1,000-mph goal, Bloodhound's team plan to increase their speed on each consecutive run. 

To hit their late-October milestone of 334 mph, the Bloodhound team ran the car through three 'run profiles', gradual tests that built up to new speed milestones each time. The first test, Run Profile 1, was a static engine test and a slow speed check of the steering and brakes. This went to 100 mph. Run Profile 2 hit 200 mph without using any extra fuel and, finally, Run Profile 3 hit 334 mph with full reheat.


Powered By British Engineering

To achieve its high speeds, Bloodhound LSR uses an EJ200 Rolls-Royce jet engine, the same as those used in Eurofighter Typhoon combat jets. Its wheels are noteworthy too and are the result of 30 years' worth of development. They are made from a solid aluminum alloy, weigh 198 pounds each, and can spin 10,200 times per minute. Once the Bloodhound hits 500 mph, the wheels act more like rudders on a boat than wheels on a conventional car. 

Before the Bloodhound can go for its target speed of around 1,050 mph, though, a lot of work needs to be done by the Bloodhound team and the car's pilot. 

And, as you may expect given the hardware in use and the ginormous target speed, it is not just any bog-standard driver behind the wheel. Wing Commander Green, the current World Land Speed Record holder, pilots the vehicle each time. His current record is 63.035 mph, and this was achieved in 1997 with the ThrustSSC.

To hit the 1,000+ mph goal, Bloodhound's team has mapped out two phases.


Project Goals

Phase one is to break Wing Commander Green's current land speed record. According to the Bloodhound team, “This is necessary to understand how the car behaves as it enters the transonic stage initially and then supersonic speed levels,". 

Once this has been achieved, Bloodhound's team will review all the generated data and then move onto the second phase, reaching speeds in excess of 1,000 mph. 

The UK-based Bloodhound team says that this project and land speed record attempt is meant to “inspire the next generation about science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and will be a supersonic testbed for showcasing emergent digital technologies,”

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