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Bloodhound smashes 450mph target speed

04 November 2019

On Friday 1 the Bloodhound team obliterated its target of 450mph by recording a top speed of 461mph, but had to abort a second run due to some minor bodywork damage.

Image courtesy of Bloodhound LSR

The ‘Run Profile 5’ called for a max reheat (afterburner) start from the zero-kilometre mark at the north end of the Hakskeenpan desert runway.

As well as pushing the speed further, a key objective was to test the right parachute, after a successful deployment of the right parachute on the October 31.

Andy Green rolled off the line in ‘max dry’ – no flames out the back – before picking the speed up to 50mph, at which point he pressed the throttle peddle past the detent catch, which engaged maximum reheat.

All of the Bloodhound’s 90kN of thrust (54,000bhp) was used to blast the car up to 461mph. Andy had lifted off the throttle at 440mph to stabilise the car, before pulling the left parachute to test it is in working order.

As expected, the parachute took a second to deploy behind the car, before flying perfectly on its 20m strop (line).

Andy reported he could feel the parachute tugging rear of the car from side to side as it filled with air and increased the drag. The chute will be modified by removing ribbons two and four to see if will fly more steadily.

Once the speed had dropped to 150mph on the parachute, Andy applied the front wheel brakes to bring Bloodhound to a stop at the 9km mark.

As on the previous run, the ‘Rescue 2’ recovery team was quickly on scene to uncouple the parachute strop from the back of the car, which Andy then taxied on idle to the 16km mark at the south end of the track.

Here he performed a 240m diameter teardrop shaped U-turn to bring the car back to the adjacent track and ready for Run Profile 6.

Unfortunately, on inspection, the team identified a minor issue with the titanium skin on the rear deltas (the aerodynamic bodywork that covers the rear suspension). This caused the planned second run of 500mph to be aborted, and saw the car recovered to the Tech Camp for repair work.

Mark Chapman, Engineering Director, explained: “The issue was with an ‘into wind step’, which is an area of the bodywork that high-speed air and desert grit blasted into as such a rate on this run, that it pealed back a corner, up to the first rivet. The Fabrication Team are trimming the 30mm long piece of titanium off before they bond and rivet a patch to cover the area.”

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