The current land speed record has stood for an impressive 15 years. It was set in October 1997, when Royal Air Force pilot Andy Green clocked a time of 763 mph (1,228 km/h) in the British designed Thrust SSC. Incidentally this was also the first time a car officially broke the sound barrier.
Andy is now a part of the team working on the Bloodhound SSC, which is aiming to smash the previous record by breaking the 1,000 mph barrier. That’s faster than a bullet!
However, they’re not the only ones trying to achieve this!
Let’s start with the current record holders. Richard Noble, the British aircraft designer and entrepreneur, is directing the project just like he did for the Thrust SCC. And Andy Green will be driving again, so the pedigree is certainly there.
The Bloodhound SSC has a rocket engine, but this works in tandem with a jet engine. The jet will be used to get the car moving fast before the rocket engine fires up and hopefully takes the car soaring past 1,000 mph.
But they’re currently further behind their nearest competitors in the building stage.
Aussie Invader 5R
The Brits aren’t the only team to have experience on their side. The Aussie Invader 5R is the fifth high speed vehicle Australian engineer Rosco McGlashan has built, and his previous efforts mean he is the current holder of the Australian Land Speed Record (500 mph set in 1994). His new vehicle has taken 10 years to become a reality.
The 5R works differently to the British entry. It’s is powered by a single rocket engine that will churn out an estimated 200,000 horsepower. That makes it 1,667 times more powerful than a Ford Fiesta!
The Bloodhound SSC and Aussie Invader aren’t the only cars vying to break the land speed record, but they do appear to be the only teams going for the 1,000 mph mark.
The North American Eagle and the Fosset LSR, which are being produced by two separate teams in the United States, are both sought to be aiming for Thrust SSC’s 763 mph mark but you never know, they could just surprise us.
Who Will Get There First?
It does look like it’s a two horse race between the British and Australian teams. As I mentioned earlier production of the Aussie Invader 5R is currently ahead of the Bloodhound SSC, but Richard Noble’s team are putting a greater emphasis on the aerodynamic testing stage.
They’ve both got to be careful as the pressure on any object traveling at 1,000 mph is immense. Richard Noble has said that this means the cars must be as rigid as a deep sea submarine, whilst still being streamline enough to reach such speeds.
So both teams still have work to do, and the race seems to be in the balance. Hopefully the first attempt will happen later this year, or early in 2013.
Andy Hamilton,the author of this post, loves driving his Ford Fiesta. He keeps the petrol tank full by working as a copywriter for Find Me A Gift, where you’ll find the very best car gifts on the web.
Photocredit: Curventa and Wwarby via Flickr