March 17, 2010

‘World’s Fastest Car’ Fixes Major Lift Issue

The project to produce the fastest car in the world can move forward now that the makers have fixed a stability issue that caused the vehicle's rear end to experience lift at high speeds, the project's technical director told BBC News on Tuesday.

The Bloodhound SSC was being built not only to break the existing land-speed record of 763mph, but also to shatter the 1,000mph barrier. However, the 42-foot long, 14,000-plus pound vehicle had experienced a series of technical setbacks since the project was announced in October 2008.

"At Mach 1.3, we've close to zero lift which is where we wanted to be," John Piper, the project's technical director, told BBC News science correspondent Jonathan Amos. "Up until this point, we've had some big issues. We've had lift as high as 12 tons, and when you consider the car is six-and-a-half tons at its heaviest - that amount of lift is enough to make the car fly."

"We're very close now to fixing the exterior aero surface, which really opens the floodgates to the rest of the design work to really get going," Piper added.

Thanks to the assistance of Intel, the project's primary sponsor, the team was able to alter the position and shape of key components in the rear of the car. As a result, says Amos, "the design team has now found the best way to manage the shockwave passing around and under the vehicle as it goes supersonic."

While work is still required on the jet intake ducts, the air brakes, and several other parts of the part, Amos noted that the progress made to date was "a major milestone" for the Bloodhound SSC and project director Richard Noble, the current owner of the land-speed record.

Noble, shortly after the project was unveiled back in 2008, told Amos that working on the Bloodhound SSC was "one of the most exciting things you can do on God's Earth; and when you've the opportunity to do it really, really well, with the latest technology, you can't resist the challenge."

The attempt to break the record and the 1,000mph mark could happen sometime in 2011.


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