0545 GMT November 19, 2019
There have been a few frights and hitches — including a fire scare — but the hope is that within the next few days Bloodhound LSR, which has been taking shape in a college workshop on the banks of the River Severn in Gloucestershire, the UK, will whizz through the desert at about 600mph, the Guardian reported.
It will then be packed up, flown home and the team will analyze the data gathered during this series of runs before, hopefully in 12 to 18 months, returning to South Africa to try to break the current land-speed record of 763.035mph — and then perhaps attempt to take the car past the 1,000mph mark.
Yorkshire businessman Ian Warhurst, who saved the project from the scrapheap, said it was fantastic to see the car speeding through the desert on a 12-mile test track.
He said, “It’s crazy that so much work goes into it for a run of a few minutes but when you see it going past it’s amazing.”
Warhurst is confident that the land-speed record is in reach — and saw no reason at the moment why they shouldn’t go on to try to break 1,000mph.
Warhurst admitted his heart was in his mouth when the driver, or pilot, Andy Green called “Fire, fire, fire” at the end of the run in which it first passed the 500mph mark.
After two parachutes had slowed the car down, a fire warning alert went off in the cockpit during the engine shutdown process. Green evacuated as rescue trucks raced to the scene. It turned out that the alert had been set off by the combination of the hot day — it was 36°C at the time — and the heat from the jet engine, which is normally found on a Eurofighter Typhoon.
Warhurst said the incident was positive as both the fire detection and emergency response had been up to scratch.
One of the main aims of this trip was to test ways not only of making the car travel at great speed but making sure it could be stopped safely before running out of desert. If the car does not stop it will hit sand dunes — and then Namibia.
Warhurst said the parachutes had worked well and they had also been testing how long it took for the car to stop when the power was simply cut. It turned out to be more than three miles.
“It’s so complex, there are so many parts that need to work together,” said Warhurst.
“There’s always going to be something that doesn’t quite work. But every time we have a run we learn something and move forward. That’s why we’re here.”