Tuesday, February 08, 2011

1,000 MPH Land Speed?

Construction begins on Bloodhound supercar

Construction work formally begins this week on what is expected to be the world's fastest car.

Called Bloodhound, the vehicle has been designed to reach 1,000mph (1,600km/h).

The British car will attempt to set the mark as it breaks the land speed record on a dried out lake bed in South Africa's Northern Cape late next year.

Bloodhound has been in design for the past three years. It will be powered by a Eurofighter-Typhoon jet engine bolted above a hybrid rocket.

The power unit combination should deliver a thrust in the order of 200 kilonewtons (47,000lb). This is not dissimilar to the thrust delivered by one of Concorde's famous Olympus 593 jet engines, except Bloodhound will weigh only about six tonnes.

"It's a fantastic feeling to be handing over the drawings to the people who will now build the car," said chief engineer Mark Chapman. "It's a 'progressive definition release' which means as soon as we finish a design, it goes out the door. The first metal parts should start coming back to our design house in Bristol by Easter," he told BBC News.

The steel-lattice rear chassis will be prepared by aerospace specialists Hampson Industries. They were officially passed the design drawings just a few days ago so that they could start work this week.

Bloodhound's front section will be prepared by Advanced Composites Group, renowned for their work on America's Cup yachts and other hi-tech vehicles that use carbon and glass fibre materials.

ACG will also construct the master models and tooling from which critical elements of the car's bodywork and structural components, such as the monocoque and nose, will be produced.

Bloodhound's Falcon rocket will be the biggest hybrid (solid fuel propellant, liquid oxidiser) booster ever produced in the UK. Such is its scale, it will need a Formula One engine supplied by the legendary Cosworth group just to pump the oxidiser through the motor. More and a two minute clip and some incredible stats.

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