It's been 12 years since RAF fighter pilot Andy Green OBE and Thrust SSC scythed through the sound barrier on their way to the current World Land Speed Record of 763.053mph. So Green and former record-holder, Richard Noble OBE, are preparing to write the latest chapter in the history of World Land Speed Record attempts, with a 1000mph bid.
As much an engineering adventure as the ultimate speed record challenge, the four-year Bloodhound Project, sponsored by fuel additive brand STP, is designed to re-ignite interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics among the youth, and raise the numbers entering technology careers.
Founder sponsor of the Bloodhound Project, STP is famed as the premier engine fuel additive brand. It's no stranger to land speed records, having sponsored US barnstormer, Athol Graham, back in 1959, and backed Art Arfons to successive World Land Speed Records in the early `60s at the Bonneville Salt Flats.
An exotic combination of jet, rocket and piston-engined power is employed in the Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) that weighs 14,110 lb and is 42ft long. With former Land Speed Record Holder and team boss Richard Noble OBE again fronting the team, and Andy Green OBE once more in the driving seat, the team has all the credentials to tackle arguably the greatest motorsport challenge on earth.
The project, based in Bristol, England will provide the most exciting arena in which to showcase frontier technologies. And for STP, it's the opportunity to educate consumers and future users on wider issues of engine efficiency.Starting with an 800mph bid in 2009, the car will be continuously developed. There will then be a 900mph run in 2010 and the ultimate goal of 1000mph will is hoped for in 2011.
The venue for the record runs is to be confirmed, but Black Rock Desert, Nevada, the scene of Green's record with Thrust SSC, is one of the considered venues.
Significantly, to fulfill the aim of generating interest and enthusiasm in technology, the unique project has complete public accessibility, unlike other motorsport arenas. Bloodhound SSC will be developed in the full public gaze at the team HQ in Filton, near Bristol, where visitors will have access to see the car taking shape. Comprehensive and constantly updated websites, from both the Bloodhound Project and STP, will also act as a rich resource for full information as the project unfolds. So once again, if you're planning a visit to Europe, this might be another place to earmark for a visit.
If Bloodhound SSC achieves its target of 1000mph (Mach 1.4) it will mark the greatest incremental increase in the history of the land speed record; it will also exceed the low altitude speed record for aircraft (994mph).
As the ultimate, unlimited racing car, Bloodhound SSC will also be the catalyst for a raft of cutting-edge research in fields such as aerodynamics, computational fluid dynamics, materials technology, composite manufacturing and sustainable high-tech engineering.
The jet and rocket-powered vehicle will be more advanced than most spacecraft, and faster than a bullet fired from a handgun. Its 35.5" diameter wheels will spin at over 10,000rpm, generating 50,000 radial g-force at the rim.
The car will accelerate from zero to 1050mph in 40sec and at V-max (maximum velocity), the pressure of air bearing down on its carbon fiber bodywork will exceed 12 tonnes per square meter.
At this speed, Andy Green will be covering a distance of 547 yards in the blink of an eye.
On-going information on the Bloodhound SSC project is available from www.bloodhoundssc.com and www.stp.eu