Earlier this year we reported that the Bloodhound Land Speed Record car would be coming to South Africa to test. The team responsible revealed Bloodhound LSR in SA this week. Bloodhound will be aiming to set a new world land speed record next year. Ahead of that event, the car will begin its high-speed testing programme in the Hakskeenpan desert, Northern Cape, South Africa.

A local debut

This week is the first time the car has been seen with its precision-machined solid aluminium wheels. The wheels are made specially to withstand the stresses of traveling at supersonic speeds. During this first test session, the wheels will be tested up to 800 km/h. High speed tests will see the Bloodhound LSR car blasting along the Hakskeenpan desert racetrack for the very first time. The world’s fastest straight-line car is powered by a state-of-the-art EJ200 Eurofighter Typhoon jet engine.

A smooth road

The Bloodhound LSR team is incredibly grateful to the Northern Cape Provincial Government and members of the local Mier community, who undertook the process of removing 16 500 tonnes of rock from 22 million square metres of dry lakebed to ensure the Bloodhound car can run smoothly and safely. It’s the largest area of land ever cleared by hand for a motorsport event. This feat was recognised by the FIA in 2016 with the award of special certificates and medals for the 317 workers.

Slowing down to go faster

One of the key objectives of the testing programme is to evaluate how the car behaves when slowing down and stopping from a number of target speeds. The Bloodhound LSR team will examine how much drag the car creates in a number of scenarios and at various speeds: using the wheel brakes, one or both of the drag parachutes, and with the giant airbrakes locked into position. Only once engineers and driver Andy Green are satisfied they understand the drag and stopping ability of the car will they push to the next run profile, building speed in each run by increments of 80 km/h.

In his own words

Mark Chapman, Bloodhound LSR engineering director, said: “(The first test at) Newquay was all about getting up to speed and finding out how quickly we could get the engine to full power and accelerate using max reheat. Andy was on the throttle for two seconds to reach 200 mph (322 km/h) in eight seconds. Here at the Hakskeenpan on a 10 mile (16 kilometre) track we can accelerate for much longer, achieve higher speeds and investigate the car’s stability, performance and drag, all crucial as we move towards setting a new world land speed record.”

You can see Bloodhound LSR in SA in the video below: