1000…..It’s a number synonymous with a marked move in current automotive times. The number relates to the jaw dropping announcement by Bugatti that their new Veyron would have 1000BHP. At the time it was a game changing number, and even now few machines have matched it. However on this mist cloaked morning at RAF St Mawgan nr. Newquay in Cornwall, the number 1000 is engulfed by a completely new shroud of excitement. You see the Veyron wouldn’t even make it past the number police at this event, because we are here to witness the first proper checks and trails of Bloodhound SSC, the privately funded Land Speed Record machine that has been 6 years in the making. The headline figure of 1000 doesn’t relate to BHP for this incarnation, it relates to the target SPEED they are aiming to achieve, and it’s far from a pipe dream as the project is spearheaded by Richard Noble and Andy Green, the men responsible for the Thrust SSC project that hit 763MPH some 20 Yrs ago.
The Bloodhound is one of those very rare forms, that has the ability to stop you in your tracks. The shape itself it very reminiscent of the fuselage of a fighter plane, which is hardly surprising as it is powered by a Typhoon engine to 600MPH at which point a Rocket burner will take over for the push to 1000MPH. It’s important to never get into a game of pub top trumps with the driver Andy Green, as he has every performance flavour not just covered but comprehensively ruled over. Power is 135,000BHP!! (that’s more than the entire 9 planes of the Red Arrows), 0-1000MPH takes 55 seconds, just think about that for a minute, because in the time it takes a Barista in any of the coffee outlets that crowd our high streets to knock up a Cappuccino, Mr Green will be doing 1000 MPH
The purpose of the day was to run the car up to a frankly piffling 200MPH, which it did with consummate ease on a couple of occasions. The crowd of invited people, press and those fortunate enough to have secured a ticket were allowed onto the runway, treated to presentations about the construction processes (the titanium nose cone was born via a 3D printer) and greeted by the driver after his 2 runs. Its the stuff you can only learn from the guys behind it that stood out, such as details about the cloud waves that the car generates around itself as it will punch through the sound barrier, and what 6G feels like, which are the forces generated during braking. Andy related this to feeling as if you were driving vertically down towards the centre of the earth.
It was a fascinating day and we all look forward to seeing how the project develops and unfolds. One thing is for sure, we were all left with little doubt that 1000MPH is just around the corner for the Bloodhound team. Our thanks to everyone involved with the day, and for allowing such access to a truly world class machine.