Bloodhound’s driver Andy Green tells us why he’s driven to try and set a new world land speed record – and the challenges it brings
The jet that just brought you back from your hols was maxing out at probably 550mph in the air. Bloodhound aims to put another 450mph on top of that and then do the resultant speed of 1000mph on land – which is generally a bit bumpier and less predictable than air.
So, what could be the motivation for the man in the hot seat, Andy Green, to climb into such a machine with the intention of setting a new land speed record? Especially as he already holds the world land speed record at 763mph, set way back in October 1997, and bearing in mind the fact that he was the first person to break the sound barrier on land?
We grabbed the 55-year-old Wing Commander in the British Air Force immediately after his recent (and successful) first test in the Bloodhound SSC and asked him that very question. Why was he doing it?
“Obviously to break the record, but there’s much more to it than that. We want to showcase British tech, and inspire schoolkids into science and technology. We’re doing some runs this week especially for 4000 Cornish schoolkids.”
Given that Bloodhound is designed to do 1000mph, presumably 200mph is easy?
“It’s slower, for sure, but Bloodhound is made for 18-second runs at full power, not to be used as a drag racer on an airfield. With only 1.5 miles of runway to play with, we’re quite restricted.”
How would Bloodhound fare in a 0-60mph acceleration test?
“It’ll do 0-60mph in about two seconds under full power, but there’s not much time to think about it because the engine takes time to shut down, so you’ve got to cut the power at 130mph so as to ‘only’ hit 200mph. The carbon brakes take a while to heat up, too, so you’ve got to plan carefully.”
Bloodhound is a pretty sizeable beast. How big is it?
“About the same length and fin height as a Red Arrows Hawk, around 13 metres. When configured for 1000mph runs, it’ll weigh eight tonnes and be as powerful as all nine Red Arrows aircraft combined.”