About 20 years ago, British Royal Air Force Wing Commander Andy Green set a world land speed record by sending his Thrust SuperSonic Car through the Black Rock Desert in Nevada at 763 MPH. His vehicle featured two Rolls-Royce turbofan engines borrowed from F-4 Phantom II fighter jets.
For most, being the first human being to break the sound barrier with a land vehicle would be enough of an accomplishment. But Green is now piloting a vehicle that aims to crush that old record by more than 200 MPH.
Green’s new ride, the Bloodhound SuperSonic Car, recently completed a test run where the vehicle, which is powered by a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine, was able to hit 210 MPH in less than nine seconds. The engine, which produced 20,000 pounds of thrust, or 54,000 horsepower, is borrowed from a Typhoon fighter plane.
That end goal is retrofitting the Bloodhound with a Formula 1 racing-inspired rocket motor that could see the vehicle safely hit speeds of over 1,000 MPH.
This speed will make Green’s presence a crucial part of the project, as he’s the only human on the planet who’s experienced how a land-based vehicle will perform at these speeds.
In addition to piloting the vehicle, he’ll need to manage brake pressures and temperatures during acceleration, and ensure even slight steering adjustments don’t catch a crosswind the wrong way and produce a disaster.
The Bloodhound project began in 2008 as a STEM initiative, with inspiring greater technical education playing a pivotal role in driving funding and promotions.
The team expects it will need about a year before taking the Bloodhound for its next run.