Write up - 2012 - The Bloodhound Project


The new UK project to increase the Land Speed Record


The Groups April social event was a presentation by Martin Evans, a Bloodhound Project ‘Ambassador’ and his talk included videos and lots of technical details to inform us about the project, the history of the land speed record and how it is possible to get involved with this amazing adventure. The well attended, informative talk was open to other Institutes and Bournemouth University and was held in the Council Chamber at County Hall, Dorchester on Tuesday 17 April.


Bloodhound SSC is a World Land Speed Record car being designed and built in Bristol. The project aims are two-fold: to inspire young people to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) both at school and university and to break the current record (763mph) and push it to over 1000mph – yes, in a car!  The team is headed by Richard Noble the Project Director - himself a previous world land speed record holder and the driver will be current world land speed record holder, RAF fighter pilot Andy Green.


The Team

The Project team, led by Richard Noble, consists of some of the world’s most revered engineering talent handpicked to ensure the project is a success, bringing together previous partnerships involved in the Thrust project and fostering new talent in one of the most exciting engineering adventures that the world has seen for many years.

Mark Chapman is the Chief Engineer and Ron Ayres is the Chief of Aerodynamics and they head up a team of engineers, designers and consultants based in Bristol. There is also a small team based in South Africa where the record attempt will be made, hopefully in 2013.


The Car

The team have a wonderful opportunity with BLOODHOUND to create the ultimate Land Speed Record car. When they designed and built Thrust2 they had the objective of achieving a peak speed of 650 mph, just beyond the existing record of 622.407 mph held by Gary Gabelich in Blue Flame. Then came Thrust SSC, which raised the Thrust2 record by a whopping 130 mph – a 20% increase.


But BLOODHOUND is different - so different. The target is 1,000mph - a 31% jump and to achieve this BLOODHOUND SSC is not going to look like anything we have seen before .First, the all-important power plants. They have chosen a combination of a jet and hybrid rocket. The reasoning is that they need the rocket for its raw power and lack of draggy air intake and the controllability of the jet engine for hitting and holding selected Mach numbers for the aerodynamicists to gain their data. And at these speeds they have to tread very carefully, increasing the Mach numbers in small, careful steps. The jet engine used is the Eurojet EJ200I from The Typhoon fighter aircraft and it is incredibly small and light for its power and is of course a fully developed engine.


The car needs to maintain the same loads on all four wheels throughout the wide speed range - much as Thrust SSC did. To achieve this little fully dynamic winglets above the wheels make small adjustments in microseconds, maintaining constant wheel load right up to Mach 1.4.

In the middle of the BLOODHOUND SSC is a 800 bhp Auxiliary Power Unit which is used:

a) to deliver hydraulic power as needed

b) to start the EJ200 and

c) to pump the High Test Peroxide (HTP) through to the Falcon rocket.


The pump has to move a ton of HTP through to the rocket catalyst in 22 seconds and at 1200 psi. The beauty of the hybrid rocket is that it uses a safe and green oxidiser in the shape of HTP and only burns its solid fuel as long as the HTP is flowing. Shut the HTP flow off and the rocket shuts down in safety.


The BLOODHOUND SSC shape is completely different to anything seen before. Cross-sectional area is minimised to reduce drag, but also there is a need for a supersonic intake for the jet engine and a smart suspension system which will enable the car to run smoothly over the rough salt surfaces. Because the rocket is positioned above the EJ200 raising the centre of gravity, the rear wheels are on outrigged suspension struts.


In ThrustSSC Andy’s cockpit was positioned comfortably between the two Spey 202 afterburning turbofan engines but in the BLOODHOUND SSC design packaging of all the components including Andy has been a difficult issue. He and his cockpit have ended up just under the EJ200 intake, with the cockpit external shape being a part of the all important intake shock management structure. Andy has lost out on comfort value, but that’s one of the compromises that have been necessary in developing a Mach 1.4 car.


The rear wheel covers are going to attract considerable attention as they look like something from a sci-fi movie. The team have to reduce supersonic drag -hence the pointed parts front and rear - and also protect the upper surface of the wheel from the oncoming airflow where, if unprotected, it would reach Mach 2.8. Inside the wheel arches there are also problems – the 900 mm (35.8 in) wheels are wasting energy winding up and whirling the airflow in the wheel bays, so they have to ventilate the bays to reduce power losses.


One of the key design issues is whether the designers have enough fin area to control the car directionally when they bring in the afterburner and the rocket at low Mach numbers. The designers believe that BLOODHOUND SSC has very good directional stability and will probably only need a small fin compared with previous Land Speed Record cars. Too much fin means the car will be severely affected by crosswind and not enough fin means that the car will be directionally unstable.


The design of the car has been mainly completed except for some small detailed items and the Team have been helped by some Universities. The car assembly has commenced in Bristol with components are being manufactured and supplied by lots of different companies, mostly from the UK.

The BLOODHOUND SSC engineering adventure provides the team with a once in a lifetime opportunity to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. To achieve this ambitious goal, the BLOODHOUND Education Programme will be made available to all pupils in primary and secondary schools, and to students in further and higher education. Nearly 4,000 schools have registered in the first 18 months of the project, plus numerous presentations have been given to other groups and professional institutions, taking the project into the heart of the community and society.


The BLOODHOUND SSC project is unique when compared to other ground breaking engineering ventures in that all the information about the research, design, build and testing of the car is available to teachers and students, and to anyone that wishes to visit the website. The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) provided a very positive audit report on the first year’s progress, proving the Team’s activities and partners were delivering inspirational programmes and achieving their aims. They must now build up the momentum, rapidly growing curriculum resources and recruiting more schools and colleges to the project.


In the UK, and many of the developed countries worldwide, there is a shortage of scientists, engineers and mathematicians and we therefore urgently need our young people to be motivated to enjoy and study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects at school and then at university. The BLOODHOUND Project is endeavouring to be the catalyst through which young people will acquire the skills and develop innovative talents that will enable them to overcome the challenges we face on a global scale.



Following an intensive search for a suitable site across all continents, the Project Team have selected the Haksceen Pan, a seasonally dried up mud flat in north western South Africa. The Team have very specific requirements, mostly based on safety and this is one of the few places in the world that has a flat surface with no gradients and has enough length and width to accommodate the runs of up to 1000mph in safety. They have already established a team in South Africa who are continuing the work of raising the public awareness and involving the education of young people in the project. Work has already begun of clearing the mud flats of all stones etc.

The Team hope to test the car and then attempt the world land speed record late in 2013.



The Founder Sponsors have been with the project since its inception in 2008, providing enough support to do the ground-breaking research that allowed the Project Team to announce the project to the world in October 2008. They have not only contributed products and services, but have also helped the project financially in return for their logo on the side of the car, both virtually on this and other websites and physically on the full-sized Show Car and scale models that are shown around the country. Other sponsors have joined the project since 2008.


As well as Bloodhound Sponsors, the project is also supported by donations made by small companies, Schools Colleges and Youth Groups and individuals who have taken part in a "name on the fin" scheme.


These schemes are tailored at different levels, and start at donations for as little as £10.  Whilst they do not give you any sponsor rights, the Project Team do recognise the importance of your contribution to the project by both your presence on their web page and on the tail fin of the actual car.  More information for making donations to the project is on the team’s excellent web site www.bloodhoundssc.com.


This was a very informative presentation by Martin and we all came away with a clear picture of this exciting project. I’m sure the Group and the other people who attended wish the Project Team well in their record attempt at the first 1000 mph on land and with their continuing work of presenting the project as a showcase for Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics within schools and higher education establishments where students can get involved in this showcase engineering project.




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