The Bloodhound did a test run from 0-628mph in a South African desert in November 2019. How did that feel? Top Gear chatted to Andy Green to find out all about the run, and the technology behind this incredible car.
For those of you living under a rock, the Bloodhound project is humanities attempt to do 1,000mph in a car. Okay, it's not just a lunatic and his Honda Civic car with a big turbo and some nitrous, this is far more complicated than that. The Bloodhound is essentially a land-jet with a rocket fixed to its rear. The only reason it can be called a car is that it has four wheels and a steering wheel. Which is good enough for us.
To find out more about how fighter pilot and current land speed world record holder, Andy Green, managed to pilot the Bloodhound from 0-628mph in a test-run, Ollie Marriage from Top Gear went to have a chat to the man himself.
To explain this test run first, we need to understand that it was just to see how the Bloodhound would accelerate using only its Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine.
Andy explains the run like so; "Mid November last year (2019) on the Hakskeen Pan (in South Africa), and it's 8:30 in the morning, just been cleared to run, jet engines running, I've got 10-miles of track in front of me. It's time to try and do 600mph in Bloodhound."
Simple enough, right? Well, no, not quite. "Left foot off the brake, right foot easing it forward to the detent for maximum dry power, spin the turbine up. Immediately, the car leaps forward, stabilises at max-dry for about a second... push through the detent, straight up to max reheat..." says Andy.
Confused? Yup, us too. Basically, what Andy was saying is that he needs to get the car up to about 30mph before he can initiate the jet engine. When that happens, that lovely carrot-shaped flame appears from out of the back, and the Bloodhound shoots forward at 20-miles per second.
Translated to petrolhead terms, he's doing 0-60mph in under three seconds, at half-a-mile, the speedo is at 180mph and accelerating. At the three-mile marker, the Bloodhound is now travelling at 500mph and still accelerating. This is where drag starts to influence acceleration, dropping to 15mph and then 10mph as the 600mph mark looms.
Even though it's a calm day in the desert, Andy tells us more. "Upwards of 500mph, there's a little bit of gusting crosswind from the right, so the car is moving around a little bit. I feel it being pushed to one side... so I let it move and, as it weathercocks, (I give it) a snap of steering on a couple of occasions just to keep it straight".
The man is drifting at over 500mph!
Because the run is in South Africa, the markers are in kilometres. At the 7km mark, Andy gives himself another two seconds because he knows he has half a kay to go before he needs to slow down. At this point, he's doing 628mph, and it's taken 50-seconds to get there.
The slowing down process, too, is different. Immediately after the jet engine is cut, the aerodynamic drag slows the Bloodhound at 1G. At 590mph, Andy stabilises the car with one hand as the other reaches for the lever to deploy the parachute. This engages another 1G of force as six-tons of drag is placed on the vehicle.
Within four seconds, the Bloodhound loses 100mph before the drag starts to tail off. With a mile to go before the stopping point, he's doing a 'slow' 300mph, "Anything below 250mph is so slow, you could pretty much get out and walk at this stage," he says.
With the run a success and Bloodhound back in the UK, Top Gear's Ollie Marriage has the opportunity to have a walk around of the car as Andy explains how it all works. From the 3D-printed titanium nose tip that distributes heat to the electric-powered rocket that will be strapped to the rear, they cover all aspects of the car and why they've done what they've done.
Every detail of the Bloodhound has been considered because, at 1,000mph, even the smallest issue can be catastrophic. In the video below, Andy takes through all of this incredibly fascinating car, explaining how it works, how it was manufactured, and what everything does. It'll make you smarter just listening to him.
We can't wait for the Bloodhound to attempt its 1,000mph run, it's going to be breathtaking.
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