World’s Fastest Car: The Bloodhound SSC

[Update]  The milestone to cross 1000 miles per hour by a manned land vehicle has been further delayed because of uncertainties in weather. Further testing on the bloodhound will continue whereas the sponsorships on the supersonic car will also be negotiated. All these factoring in has resulted in a new date, somewhere during the summer of 2018.

2016 was supposed to be the year when the Bloodhound SSC would break the fastest land vehicle record. Theoretically speaking it’s supposed to reach a maximum speed of 1600 kmph (994 mph). But the attempt to break the record will not happen anytime in 2016 as the dates have been pushed to 2017. So the critics can question the ability of this Supersonic Car for one more year.

Bloodhound ssc
Image Credits:
Bloodhound SSC introductory video

Who built the Bloodhound SSC?

The project was taken upon by Mark Chapman (Chief Engineer). The design team is a mashup between Formula F1 and Aerospace experts. The team that is constructing this beast is British Army’s Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and Royal Air Force’s 71 squadrons.


The Wheels of the Fastest Car 

When you are building the fastest car in the world, you have to build the fastest wheels in the world. Bloodhound weighs over 7.5 ton. So apart from being the fastest wheels in the world, it also has to be the strongest one. 

At the top capacity of the engine, the wheels rotate over 10,200 times per minute. The radial gravity it experiences at this rpm is 50,000 times. In other words, a kilo of weight when rotated at 10,200 rpm will weigh 50,000 kilos.

Hence, to manage these forces, the wheels are made of pure aluminum and weigh over 105 kilos each. The team used a 3,600-tonne press to forge a long cylindrical aluminum into a flat rounded shape, and it’s fascinating to watch that.

This is how you make the fastest wheels.

How do you stop the fastest car?

When in top speed (1600 kph), it is projected that the bloodhound would halt in an amazing 65 seconds. However, during this deceleration time, the cockpit of this SSC creates forces up to 3G. Comparatively, a car traveling at 50 kph running into a concrete wall creates a 3G force, and we call this a crash.

The first 360 kph is slowed down as soon as the engine is turned off. This is because of the resistance caused by the wind. When the speed goes below 1280 kph, two air brakes, one on either side will pop out of the car and will be the decelerating factor until the speed reaches 450 kph. This is when the actual wheel brakes are applied, any sooner than this may cause the wheels to go up in flames due to friction.

As a security precaution, if any of the systems fail, the vehicle is also equipped with two parachutes to bring it to a stop.

The Engine?

The engine on the Bloodhound SSC is a hybrid one. It has three engines.

  1. The first one that powers up is the prototype Eurojet EJ200 Jet Engine that was developed for the Eurofighter.
  2. After the 500 kph mark, a powerful hybrid rocket designed by Nammo will power the car up to its full potential, the 1690 kph mark.
  3. The 3rd engine is an auxiliary power unit that will be used to drive the oxidizer pump for the rocket. It is a Jaguar supercharged V8 engine.

Body Dimensions:

Wheelbase: 8.9m (12 ft)
Length: 12.9m (42 ft)
Height: 2.5m (8.2 ft)
Width: 3.0m (9.8 ft)
Kerb Weight:  6,422kgs (14,158 lb) (fuelled)

Where is the track and who is the driver for the Bloodhound SSC?

Track Hakskeenpan SSC
Hakskeenpan Track; Image credits:

The track is 19 kilometers long and 3.3 kilometers wide in the Mier area of Northern Cape, South Africa.Andy Green SSC

Andy Green; Image Credits:

Andy Green will take the seat behind the wheel of the Bloodhound SSC to break the previous record set by ThrustSSC. Interestingly, when ThrustSSC broke the record in 1997, it was driven by the same, Andy Green.

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