Rocket car targeting new land speed record of 1600km/h

The Bloodhound SSC has made its first public test runs this week, with the new rocket car showing promise ahead of its much-publicised World Land Speed Record attempt.

Making its debut at Cornwall Airport in Newquay, 20 years after the Thrust SSC set the current land speed record, the Bloodhound SSC made two runs along the 2.7-kilometre runway, accelerating at a rate of 1.5G and reaching 210mph (338km/h) from a standstill in just 8.0 seconds flat.

The new rocket car is powered by a Rolls-Royce 'EJ200' jet engine, producing peak thrust of 20,000 pounds (90 kilonewtons), which is equivalent to 54,000 thrust horsepower. Such a unit is normally found in a Eurofighter Typhoon multirole fighter jet.

Next on the agenda is a run on the dry lake bed at Hakskeen Pan in South Africa, where further development will be undertaken towards the ultimate goal of setting a new World Land Speed Record.

"Data from today’s tests, including jet engine performance, aerodynamic stability and the braking distances, will help us plan our World Land Speed Record campaign," said Bloodhound driver, Andy Green, who also set the current land speed record of 763.035mph (1228km/h).

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The team has set a target of 1000mph (1609km/h), clearly eclipsing the record set by the Thrust SSC some 20 years ago, and the results of these recent tests have the team in good spirits.

"Although 210mph is far below the Car’s ultimate target of 1,000mph, today was a proper workout for the vehicle," said Andy Green.

"The car is designed for high speed on a desert rather than sprint performance off the line, but it still accelerated from zero to 210mph in less than 8 seconds. It’s also notable for being the longest period that we’ve run the car for, at around 21.5 minutes – and remember it’s designed to run for just 2 minutes at a time in the desert."

Above: Thrust SSC

It's been more than six years since the Bloodhound SSC first entered construction, which followed a development process that took more than three years.

Meanwhile, a Californian man, Waldo Stakes, has been working on his own Sonic Wind rocket car, which he claims should be capable of a mind-bending 2000mph (3218km/h) - meaning the vehicle would be covering nearly 900 metres per second.

However, we haven't heard from Stakes since he first made those claims in 2012 – and he hadn't found a driver who wanted to complete the run at that point, either.