November 22, 2010

Project To Build 1,000mph Car On Schedule

A British project to design and build a car that can travel 1,000mph is proceeding as planned, and the vehicle could be ready to make a run at the World Land Speed Record within the next two years, according to BBC News reports on Sunday.

According to Jonathan Amos, a science correspondent with the British news bureau, construction on the rear end of the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car (SSC) will start in January 2011, and the super-quick vehicle could make a run at the record sometime in 2012.

In the meantime, project director Richard Noble is making an appeal for volunteers to help clear the vehicle's proposed race track, a dried-up lake bed in South Africa. The track, which is located in the Northern Cape Province and is known as Hakskeen Pan, must be cleared of loose stones and other rubble to avoid damaging the Bloodhound SSC during its run.

"With the assistance of the Northern Cape government, work has just started to prepare the track," Amos reported on Sunday. "A team of 300 local people has begun sweeping an area 20km x 1.5km, picking up any stones in their path."

"The volunteers have got to support themselves, but the cost of living out there is not great," Noble told BBC News, adding that participating in the project was "an opportunity to be a part of an extraordinary experience."

The existing World Land Speed Record is 763mph, which was set by the Thrust Super Sonic Car in 1997. Noble and the Bloodhound team are seeking to improve upon that by some 31 percent, and will attempt to do so using an engine that can provide 800 brake horsepower and runs on high-test peroxide.

According to Amos, the Bloodhound will be powered by a hybrid rocket and Eurofighter-Typhoon jet engine, the latter of which was donated by the British government. The back end of the car will be built by Hampson Industries, while the wheels are in development at Lockheed Martin, and F1 engine manufacturer Cosworth is also contributing to the project.

While Noble told BBC News that the project still had to generate additional funding to reach its goals, he said that he no longer doubted that the project was feasible.

"It's quite clear it's going to happen now," he told Amos.

Shortly after the project was unveiled back in 2008, Noble 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."


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