Watch as the Bloodhound rocket car cracks 600 mph in testing at a desert racetrack in South Africa.
For the past several weeks, Bloodhound LSR has been at the Hakskeenpan desert racetrack in Northern Cape, South Africa undergoing shakedown tests. These tests are integral to the car’s development and its ultimate goal of breaking the 1,000 mph barrier on land.
Although all the technology used in the Bloodhound LSR is well known (the main engine is an EJ200 turbofan straight out of a Eurofighter jet and backed up by the V8 engine from a Jaguar F-Type R), it wasn’t known how all the cars various bits would function in a true high-speed test. Especially it’s newly developed aluminum wheels.
So it was off to South Africa to see just how far they could push the Bloodhound’s throttle. We’re happy to report that it was very far indeed, with test driver Andy Green reaching a top speed of 628 mph. That’s roughly Mach 0.8, which very nearly breaks the speed of sound on land.
In addition to testing the car’s engine, this test also ensured that the Bloodhound’s brakes functioned as intended. And they did, although there was a bit of a hiccup when Green let off the throttle. The test was supposed to end at 600 mph, but as Green explains, the way the engine’s fans wind down meant that there was an extra burst of power just as soon as his foot was removed from the accelerator. This pushed them up to 628 mph, which was completely unintentional and may have even caused a bit of a scare.
Thankfully, the car was still able to decelerate safely with the help of a drag chute.
Now, Bloodhound and the gang will return to Gloucester to analyze their data and improve on the car’s design. Next year, they’ll return to South Africa to perform an official top speed run and go for not just the record but also the 1,000 mph barrier. And they’ll have some rocket assistance to do it, too