The recent signing of major deals means The BLOODHOUND Project now has sufficient funding pledged to complete the car and start the countdown to high speed testing at the Hakskeen Pan, Northern Cape, South Africa, in autumn next year.
On October 151997 Andy Green went supersonic in Thrust SSC and set a new World Land Speed Record of 763.035 mph (1277.98 km/h). Twenty years on, that record remains unchallenged.
In October 2017, the team behind the BLOODOUND Supersonic Car aims to change that and today formally announced the start of preparations for its first World Land Speed Record campaign.
As well as being one of the founding sponsors of BLOODHOUND SSC, Swansea University has been instrumental in the project’s success to date, having been a key technology provider since day one in the early concept stages back in 2007.
The University’s primary role in the BLOODHOUND SSC Project has been the contribution of its expertise in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) research, with College of Engineering researchers working as part of the design team on the aerodynamic design of the supersonic car.
The car displayed to widespread acclaim in September 2015 was a ‘trial-build’, without fluids, done in part to check the fit of over 3500 bespoke components. Conventional motor manufacturers typically build hundreds of pre-production prototypes to finalise details. As there is only one BLOODHOUND SSC, the Project used this opportunity to see if brackets were in the right place, key components accessible for servicing and one-off parts manufactured to the correct tolerances.
Dr Ben Evans during the unveilling of the BLOODHOUND SSC in September 2015.
The team will now disassemble the 13.5m long streamliner, documenting the process in fine detail, to create the BLOODHOUND User Manual. Given that, at some point in the future, engineers may be working on the world’s most complex racing car, at 2am, in the Kalahari desert, an accurate illustrated guide will be essential piece of kit.
Where necessary modifications will be made and new parts created before BLOODHOUND SSC is reassembled and transported to Newquay Aerohub for tiedown tests with its EJ200 jet and Nammo rocket system in place.
The Rolls-Royce jet is a tried and tested component used to develop the production engines for the Eurofighter Typhoon. The rocket is a new design however and further work will be required before engineers sign it off for use in the car.
BLOODHOUND SSC will travel under its own power for the first time at Newquay in June 2017, in a slow speed (c.220 mph / 354 km/h) shakedown test. This will also be an opportunity for the team to practice live-streaming data and imagery from the car - a key aspect of BLOODHOUND’s mission to share the adventure with a global audience.
By this time the team’s Rapid Response and Turnaround Crews will have done extensive training ready to support high speed running in South Africa. This will include rehearsing ‘the pit stop from hell’: an intense 40 minute period between timed runs during which time the car will be checked, refuelled and made ready for the return leg.
This ‘race within a race’ is crucial to setting a record: in 1997 a delay of just a few seconds cost the team the top prize.
With the Shakedown Test successfully completed, BLOODHOUND SSC will be loaded onto a CargoLogicAir Boeing 747 freighter to be airlifted to Upington, South Africa. It will then be transported by road to the team’s desert base at Hakskeen Pan. Under the guidance of Operations Director Martyn Davidson, 16 container-loads of equipment will have been shipped in advance and a self-contained village complete with workshop and TV studios set up.
The first practice loading of BLOODHOUND SSC into the 747 will take place during the Farnborough International Airshow on Monday 11 July.
Dr Ben Evans, senior lecturer in aerospace engineering and member of the BLOODHOUND SSC design team, said: “This latest announcement on the progress of the BLOODHOUND SSC marks a further milestone for the project. The first record attempt at 800mph takes another leap towards realising the project’s ultimate objective of achieving a 1,000mph Land Speed Record. After seven years of design and a year to complete the car build, now things get real!
“We at Swansea's College of Engineering have been working closely with BLOODHOUND engineers, Rolls-Royce, and Rolex in developing the vehicle’s design, and 2017 will be the most exciting stage of the project, and for us at Swansea, as we will find out how accurately our world-leading CFD modelling capabilities have been at predicting the car’s aerodynamic performance.
“I am incredibly proud of the University's involvement in developing the BLOODHOUND project, and I'm already looking forward to next year, when BLOODHOUND will undoubtedly become the world's most famous car."
- Tuesday 12 July 2016 16.46 BST
- Monday 4 July 2016 14.57 BST
- Catrin Newman