The UK team behind the BLOODHOUND Project announced a number of significant milestones this week on the way to their goal of setting a new world land speed record. The biggest – or at least the longest – was the unveiling of a 1:1 scale replica of the car that the team believes will smash the current land speed record of 763 mph (just under 1,228 km/h) set in 1997.

The life size Show Car that was unveiled at the Farnborough International Airshow (FIA) in Hampshire, England, started its life as five meter cubed polystyrene blocks, which were then cut into bucks and molds using three axis machining. Fiberglass and resin was then laid over the bucks in a process that took many thousands of painstaking hours to hand finish. The BLOODHOUND model was then given the six coats of Akzo Nobel aerospace paint.

The end result was a 950kg (2,094 lb) show car that measures 12.8m (42 ft) long and needed to be separated into three sections to be transported to Farnborough.

The design of the car was the result of aerodynamic research using Computational Fluid Dynamics that at key moments utilized more computing power than the UK’s Met Office – the body responsible for the UK’s weather forecasting.

The BLOODHOUND aerodynamic team, lead by Ron Ayers, generated millions of mathematical equations to investigate how the air around the car would react as the car accelerates to its maximum design speed of 1,050 mph (1,689.8 km/h). Using this information they then designed an efficient shape that would be stable at supersonic speeds, and controllable a sub-sonic velocity.

BLOODHOUND Driving Experience

At the FIA the team also debuted the BLOODHOUND Driving Experience that allows drivers to get behind the virtual wheel of the car and experience something of what it’s like to travel ten miles in just 100 seconds. Developed with the help of Intel, the simulator lets visiting drivers face the multi-tasking challenge of monitoring and controlling three separate engines whilst keeping the 133,000bhp car on course on the way up to Mach 1.4.

Virtual land speed racers will have to balance the jet and rocket thrust, accelerating the jet and firing the rocket at precisely the right time to reach maximum speed in just four and a half miles. Drivers will need lightning-fast reflexes to mitigate the effects of cross-winds and surface changes, then juggle air brakes, parachute and wheel brakes to haul the 6,000kg (13,228 lb) car down from fifteen times the UK national speed limit to standstill, to finish at an exact location in the desert.

EJ200 engine test successful

The team also announced that the Eurofighter Typhoon jet engine that will be used during the land speed record-attempts successfully completed a rigorous test session last week.

The EJ200 will be used to power BLOODHOUND SSC from 0 to 300 mph (482.8 km/h) during its planned desert runs in 2012. Prior to being put on show at FIA, it was driven to full power on reheat in a series of controlled bench-tests, producing a maximum thrust of 90 kN (20,000 lbf) with no problems.

Having completed its life as a development engine for the Typhoon programme, the 1.5-ton engine is now on loan to the BLOODHOUND Programme. It will partner the largest hybrid rocket ever designed in Europe to produce a combined thrust of 212 kN (47,500 lb) – the equivalent to 180 F1 cars – and propel driver Andy Green from 0 to 1,000 mph in 42 seconds. Or at least that's the plan. We wish them well and will keep you posted on their progress.