The Bloodhound Land Speed Record team is putting the project on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, the project announced it was seeking additional funding, but the virus has caused potential funding sources to dry up, giving the team no other choice than to wait. However, while the team is unlikely to attempt its record run in 2021, it did release a video of a virtual drag race, pitting the jet-powered vehicle against three unlikely competitors – an F1 car, a Bugatti Chiron, and an everyday road car.
The video starts after the cars have already left the starting line, with the Bloodhound LSR is in fourth place through the first five seconds of the race. However, the Bloodhound’s 54,000 pounds of thrust quickly allows it to take third place. It takes about 11 seconds for the Bloodhound to reach a higher speed than the Chiron. But the Chiron has such a significant lead that it takes the Bloodhound seven more seconds to pass it. After that, the Bloodhound continues to pull away as its three competitors hit their speed limiter.
The Bloodhound is surprisingly slow to 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour), taking 6.3 seconds. However, it makes up for it by hitting 628 mph (1,011 kph) in just 50.1 seconds before the video ends. It takes time for the state-of-the-art EJ200 Eurofighter jet engine time to spool up and start producing thrust, hence the slow start. The Bloodhound has higher goals than just 628 mph, though.
Gallery: Bloodhound LSR Speed Tests
After the successful completion of a test run in November 2019, the team had planned to beat the existing 763.035 mph (1227.986 kph) record before attempting to hit 1,000 mph (1,609 kph). Sadly, those plans are now delayed. Ian Warhurst, Bloodhound’s CEO, said, “Rightfully, the world has more important things to focus on right now.” The project is entering hibernation to reduce monthly overhead costs with plans to reboot sponsorship conversations later this year.
Bloodhound LSR project hibernates during Covid-19
Record attempt in 2021 unlikely
The Bloodhound Land Speed Record team released a video today, showing how the jet-powered car would stack up against a Formula 1 car, a Bugatti Chiron, and a regular road car.
Some poetic license has inevitably been applied, as it was impossible to factor for traction on the dusty desert surface, which is estimated to be about 1/3rd that of regular tarmac. This is, of course, not an issue for Bloodhound LSR as she’s thrust driven. The state-of-the-art EJ200 Eurofighter jet engine takes some time to spool up and start producing thrust, and a few seconds longer to be up to speed to use reheat (aka afterburners) – where flames are seen shooting out of the back of the car.
When Bloodhound LSR returns to the Kalahari Desert for the record breaking campaign she will be fitted with Nammo’s latest zero-carbon emission rocket, which will provide a further 50 to 60 kilonewtons of thrust (5 – 6 tonnes). This, combined with the 90kN of the jet engine, will provide the power to reach speeds of over 800mph
Covid-19 has inevitably had an impact on discussions with potential sponsors, so the team has taken the decision to hibernate the project until the pandemic has passed. This will inevitably have an impact on the planned 2021 World Land Speed Record attempt.
Ian Warhurst, Bloodhound’s CEO said “Rightfully, the world has more important things to focus on right now. Discussions with a number of global brands were looking promising when COVID-19 struck, but the sponsorship industry literally shut down. This means our ability to raise the necessary funds in time and, consequently, the window to conduct the LSR campaign safely in 2021 is now very likely to be missed. As a result, we are planning to go into hibernation to reduce the monthly overheads to an absolute minimum, and we’ll reboot conversations with potential sponsors later in the year.
He continued, “In the meantime we thought you might enjoy our latest film, where we imagined drag racing Bloodhound LSR against some other very fast cars.”
The Bloodhound Land Speed Record programme is a UK-based global endeavour exploiting the cutting-edge of digital technologies to set a new world land speed record. By sharing this adventure with a global audience, Bloodhound will help inspire the next generation about science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and will be a supersonic testbed for showcasing emergent digital technologies.
0 – 60mph 6.3 seconds
0 – 100mph 8.3 seconds
0 – 200mph 13.9 seconds
0 – 300mph 19.7 seconds
0 – 400mph 26.1 seconds
0 – 500mph 33.9 seconds
0 – 600mph 45.6 seconds
0 – 628mph 50.1 seconds
The Bloodhound LSR car is a combination of fast jet, F1 car and spaceship. The project is followed in over 220 countries and territories.
The world land speed record of 763.035 mph (1,227.9 km/h) is held by Thrust SSC. The record was set in 1997 by a UK team led by Richard Noble and driven by Bloodhound’s Andy Green.
Engine for high speed testing The high speed testing was conducted using the car’s Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine, normally found in a Eurofighter Typhoon. These engines produce a peak thrust of 20,000 lbs (90 kilonewtons), equivalent to 54,000 thrust hp, or the combined output of 360 family cars.
The solid aluminium wheels have been specially designed for the desert surface. Measuring 900 mm in diameter and weighing 90 kg each, they are designed to spin at up to 10,200 rpm (revolutions per minute) – more than four times faster than wheels on a Formula 1 car at top speed. The result of 30 years of research and design, they were created by an international consortium and forged from one of the highest aircraft grade aluminium alloys in the world: 7037.
The wheels have a V-shaped keel which digs into the alkali playa (baked mud) surface by 15 mm when the car is stationary. As speeds increase, the wheels will rise up out of the mud surface and plane in much the same way as a speedboat rides up on the surface of the water. At 500 mph (804 km/h) and above, just a few millimetres of metal will be in contact with the desert surface, and the giant aluminium discs will act more like rudders than the wheels on a conventional car.