In a world where most of the ambitions of scientists and engineers appear to centralise around designing bigger and better batteries and finding more computer power, you might be forgiven for thinking that the era of land speed records was long gone. However, for the crew of Bloodhound SSC, the dream of breaking the 1,000 mph barrier is still very much alive.
This October, Wing Commander Andy Green will be peering through a letterbox sized windscreen and projecting himself across land, covering a mile every 3.6 seconds as he hurtles towards that magic 1,000 MPH . Following the successful 200mph shakedown tests at Cornwall Airport, Newquay last October, the BLOODHOUND SSC Team are set to test the car at 500 mph on the Hakskeen Pan, South Africa in October 2018, before it goes for the record in 2019.
Using an ingenious combination of a jet and rocket engines attached to a land vehicle, the BLOODHOUND SSC boasts over 180 times the power of an F1 car with an astonishing 135,000 horsepower! The vehicle will break the sound barrier with ease as it travels upwards of 1,000mph. Being one of the most sophisticated cars ever built, the machine is comprised of over 3,500 parts made uniquely for the vehicle.
So, are land speed records still valid in 2018? Well The BLOODHOUND SSC Project team thinks so and sets out to educate young scientists and engineers across the world, honing in on engineering skills and developing innovative talent in children and young adults through hands-on presentations at schools globally.
Duckhams too has been involved in land speed record attempts in the past. Back then, it was a crucial part of Duckhams’ mission to develop better and more robust engine lubricants after the Second World War. It was an essential proving ground for our lubricants at a time when, in post-war Britain, motor car production was going through huge growth and changes with 100mph production cars being widely available by the mid-1950s.
The first record was broken by Lt-Col A.T “Goldie” Gardner who set the first International Production Car Speed Record with an aero streamlined MG on the Jabekke speed highway in Belgium. He would return to break the record once again in 1951 with MG, again lubricated by Duckhams but this time on the salt flats in Utah. The cars still exist today and can be seen in the British Motor Heritage Museum, Gaydon, Warwickshire.
Fast forward to 2018 and team leader Richard Noble has been a catalyst in the success of World Land Speed Records for decades, spearheading the Thrust2 programme to the World Land Speed Record in 1983 and the current record holder, the ThrustSSC, in 1997.
Fans wanting to see this incredible vehicle up close before then can see it at this years London Motor Show, 17th – 20th May 2018: thelondonmotorshow.co.uk.