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The Bloodhound SSC drives for the first time next week

Newquay is the base for first test of 1,000mph land speed record car. Full story here

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On the 26th October at Newquay Airport in Cornwall, Bloodhound will turn a wheel in anger for the first time. You don’t need us to tell you it’s been a long time coming. Blame slow funding and move on. The important thing is that the team has made it this far and Bloodhound SSC is ready for its first tests.

It’s obviously not going to be doing 1,000mph at Newquay. That comes later, probably 2019, when the team heads out to Hakskeen Pan in South Africa. But it’ll probably never accelerate as fast as this again. With no rocket motors or rocket fuel on board at the moment (Bloodhound is powered by both jet and rockets), in runway trim it weighs about 4.5 tonnes. The team believes the 1.7-mile runway is easily long enough to yield a 200mph top speed, accompanied by the sights and sounds of an EJ200 on full reheat (afterburner for you Americans out there, or augmented thrust if you want to get all new age).

But Bloodhound isn’t only running at Newquay to show the public it’s still alive. “There are two mission critical aspects to what we’re doing at Newquay”, driver Andy Green says, “firstly, we need to see how the jet intake operates – something we’re not able to see from the CAD data. And secondly this is a human operation, we’re learning how to tow a five-tonne vehicle with a terrible turning circle, how to start it up safely, how to have the right kit in the right place, who has what fire extinguisher in which car. We’re hoping to take the methodology we put in place here and stretch it out over 12 miles of desert”.

This, then, is the first turn of the wheels. Only it isn’t. In preparation for public events on the 26, 28 and 30 October, the team has already been running the car on the runway to iron out gremlins and check it’ll do what they need it to do. “It was more reliable on its first run than Thrust SSC was on its last run”, Andy Green comments. “The steering is incredibly crisp and precise. Unlike Thrust SSC which was massively too hard and bouncy to start with, this was right on day one. It feels like a well sorted race car from the first run.”

Want to see it run? Course you do. If you’re already involved with Bloodhound as a gold 1k Club member, then you can buy tickets for the 26th October. Saturday the 28th is open to the public. Tickets cost £65 per adult and £20 per child. Yes, that is expensive, but it’s cheaper than a flight to South Africa. Alternatively, £10 puts your name on the fin. Either way, the mission to push the Land Speed Record beyond 1000mph is something you want to be part of.

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