back to article Thrust SSC team to build 1000 mph 'Bloodhound' car

A new bid to break the land speed record using British technology was launched today by the Science Minister, Lord Drayson. The idea is that breaking the previous record (held by the same British team mounting this attempt) will inspire schoolchildren to embark on careers in science and engineering. Bloodhound Car concept art …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Lord who?

    Are you sure it should not be Lord Dyson... The damn thing looks like a Dyson Vacuum Cleaner

  2. Mike Flugennock
    Thumb Up

    Blue Flame Redux?

    Why does the look and aerodynamics of this vehicle remind me of the liquified natural gas-powered "Blue Flame" which set the land speed record at Bonneville in the early '70s:

    I was totally into these insane-assed Bonneville speed-record machines as a young kid, and had always wondered if a) anyone would break the sound barrier in a wheeled land vehicle at Bonneville, and b) what kind of handling issues would the driver face, and c) how loud would the sonic boom be on land?

    Best of luck, guys. Yee hah!

  3. Michael

    Looks to me

    like a very low flying cruise missile.

    Are we SURE the MoD aren't paying for this?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Well, yes. But it did stick around for the best part of 30 years, and it could go a long way in the time it did manage to stay in the air. And the lack of decent wepons or avionics is hardly the fault of the airframe.

    As it happens I didn't know about the U2 intercepts, but I do now. Cheers!

  5. Dazed and Confused

    Well this is bound to get banned

    What's this, a UK minister talking up Science?

    We can't be having that.

    Science is difficult, it's hard for us to water down the examine papers sufficiently to show the whole country has passed the test with tripple A star ratings.

    Projects like this certainly can appeal to young would be scientists and engineers. Growing up in the sixties then the US Apollo program was a huge thing for almost all school boys. That's sure what I wanted to do when I grew up.

    Is this the sole good idea the current would be dictatorship has come up with since coming to power?

  6. Steve Sutton

    Let's just hope....

    ... that they don't get The Hamster to drive it

  7. Tim Rogers
    Thumb Down

    Pointless achievement

    Building an aeroplane that doesn't fly. And then ploughing in loads of technology into ensuring that it doesn't try to fly.

    Like walking in the Olympics.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Drayson = Dyson?

    Sure I won't be the first to say it but I've got a carpet cleaning device at home that looks *remarkably* like that design.

    Paris 'cause of her suction expertise obviously.

  9. Nick Brennan

    Was that Drayson or Dyson

    Did anyone else do a double take after seeing the picture and think that Dyson had diversified?

  10. variant

    Thrust SSC team to build 1000 mph 'dyson' car’

    Is it just me or does it look like British favourite vacuum cleaner?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Always treat your kite... you treat your woman.

    Get inside her for twenty minutes and take her to heaven and back! Woof! Woof!

    Apologies to Squadron Commander The Lord Flashheart for the modified quote...

  12. Steven Jones

    @Pointless achievment

    "Like walking in the Olympics."

    But they do, they do - over 50km...

  13. Pete James

    What's the point?


    Kids won't suddenly embrace physics and want to become engineers just because they saw someone drive quick.

    The LSR idea is great. But Government involvement? Patronising cockbiters.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I always thought it was too bad that the land speed record never stipulated wheeled vehicles actually had to be propelled via their wheels like proper cars; there seems a little more thought involved in powering a wheel-driven vehicle to insane speeds as opposed to just strapping bigger and bigger turbojets/rockets or whatever to what is essentially a trolley.

  15. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: Bah

    Actually, they do. There's still a category for wheel-driven. This was still held, last time I actually checked, by Donald Campbell with the Bluebird Proteus, but I think someone broke it recently to rapturous cries of "Meh".

    The pointy, rockety, jetty things that have held the absolute record since have one sop to "da roolz" which is having two front wheels. This is 'cos if you go for the logical approach to reducing front cross-sectional area and only fit one, you get the record for fastest motorcycle / sidecar combination and not the car one.

    Apparently it's the number of wheels that makes something a car (four or more), not how it's propelled. Go figure.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    What is it with British projects and dog names?

    I like dogs, I really do.

    I also like high technology projects, things that go fast and all that stuff.

    But why do we have to give them cute doggie names? I'm thinking for example of "Beagle", the epic Mars failure. That one behaved exactly like a Beagle that had been left in a garden and stolen by pikeys - we never saw it again.

    I wouldn't mind, but Bloodhounds aren't even fast dogs. Surely if you *have* to have a dog name for a land speed record, you'd choose "Greyhound" wouldn't you?

    These are not the sort of project names that are likely to inspire young people to stay up all night wrestling with flux capacitors and rubber bands.

    What's next - the "King Charles Spaniel" deep sea explorer?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fantastic sense of priorities here

    Only a few weeks ago the government said that the expensively useless practice of strapping someone in a tin can and firing it straight up will encourage children to take an interest in science and technology; now the expensively useless practice of strapping someone in a tin can and firing it sideways will encourage kids to take an interest in science and technology.

    Because obviously no one could be interested in dinosaurs, volcanoes, explosions and radiation just because they're awesome could they????

    The only important question these pork barrel projects can answer is - 'What is the effect on science and technology education when the men in spaulas arrive to scrape the test subject into a bucket?'

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That's a different class of vehicle. I'm pretty sure there are FIA rules for that style of land speed too.

  19. spam


    "will inspire schoolchildren to embark on careers in science and engineering".

    Teachers will probably use it as an example of a wicked waste of natural resources and task children with estimating how many polar bears will be killed by the carbon emissions of this project.

  20. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Up


    Next you'll be telling me all you have to do is get an old jet fighter and lop its wings off.

    Oh, wait...

    I'd love to be a fly on the wall when that lot hear about Bloodhound.

  21. Matthew

    @Evil Graham

    I thought theBeagle expedition was named after HMS Beagle, Darwin's ship on his trip to the Galapagos, not your dog.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So negative lewis

    There is nothing wrong with the idea. I recall how proud I was then Thrust SSC proved that we the brits have the right stuff as it were.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    About a week ago I picked up David Tremayne's book about Richard Noble's achievements, and re-read it, I was just finishing the epilogue this morning when I heard the news about Bloodhound.

    I really hope that this has some effect on our children's choice of career, I was talking to a teacher at my daughter's school a few weeks ago and he told me that essentially even in a specialist engineering college (which it styles itself) there is very little real engineering training. Anything that makes people think about what really adds to the wealth of a country is a good idea, after all look what our wonderful financial industry has wreaked upon us. That doesn't happen when the cash coming in is in exchange for bits of machined metal, those are real earnings.

    In 1997 when ThrustSSC was setting records on the Black Rock desert I put a fair quantity of money in, I still have my Black Rock Fuel Certificate signed by Richard Noble and Andy Green, and my email from Richard thanking me for an extra donation when they were really running out of cash and may have had to come home before setting a supersonic record.

    The reason to do this is because we can, never worry about what it is good for, whether it relates to anything else, how much carbon dioxide it generates. This is about hard work, clever engineering, team work, mutual respect and that electric moment when the double-boom lands on Gerlach and knocks plates off the wall and makes the inhabitants grin.

    And the name, why Bloodhound? Maybe because Ron Ayers, the man who designed the ThrustSSC aerodynamics, also designed the Bloodhound missile when working for BAC Guided Weapons Division.

    Gets a huge thumbs up from me!

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Thrust PWE

    I guess that this "media event" sums up the state of British innovation after years of ministers and civil servants cancelling any programme which involved anything more than rebranding other people's kit and "saving" hundreds of low-end jobs through expensive, publicly funded bail-outs (rather than actually moving the pork-fed industry concerned up the food chain), all while wondering which Jaguar, yacht, stately home or "services" they were going to buy with the savings/kickbacks.

    With the current level of contempt for science and engineering from the British government (it's a surprise Britain is still a member of CERN, ESA, ESO, and so on), combined with the contempt for the education sector (kiddyprinting and indoctrination apparently trumps actual teaching or paying teachers a decent wage), the extent to which this will inspire the next generation will probably be limited to lots of suggestions about the logo or which colours should be used for the pilot's/driver's uniform/costume.

    Of course, Britain being the only country to have forsaken the capability to launch its own stuff into orbit, and having repeatedly brushed off proposals to actually do anything else in that area, you'd think that government money might be better spent elsewhere, but then I suppose the "nation of middlemen" advocates were happy to see India launch stuff to the moon recently because they now probably see it as yet another area in which the "entrepreneurs" can wave wads of cash at a developing nation and get them to do the dirty work in realising whatever the gadget of the week may be: Twatsat 2.0 in all likelihood.

    Let's make a fast car? Call it Thrust PWE. What a penis-waving exercise!

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Evil Graham?

    Or just Thickie Graham?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Anti aircraft rocket propelled car

    Would this be the same Bloodhound that was used as an antiaircraft missile during the cold war? Capable of accelerating from 0 to Mac 2 within it's own length. Great to see they've finally found a use for the thousands they must have knocking about.

    Paris, cos even she goes off at the speed of sound.

  27. Anonymous Coward


    "Wing Commander Green has a first in mathematics"

    During pub talk, we established that you were awarded the rank of Wing Commander after achieving your pink, red, white and brown wings (we also discussed silver, purple and metal but they were special commendations) ... Has this man got all those then? Sir, I salute you...

    Mine's the one with the beer stains on it...

  28. Nick Fisher
    Thumb Down

    Waste of Research Council money

    Makes me glad I'm not submitting a grant application to the EPSRC this year.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    SGI paint?

    Did they get the paint cheap from Silicon Graphics?

  30. Elrond Hubbard

    So if this is to inspire more children to choose to learn and participate in Science..

    Perhaps someone can show us the evidence that the last endeavor to achieve the land speed record got any significant increase in numbers of children studying science and pursuing a career in the same. Would be nice before they spent the money.

  31. Zargof
    Paris Hilton

    A better way to encourage kids...

    How about paying scientists and engineers a decent wage for the job that they do? Surely that would be more encouraging?

    Bitter, moi?

    Paris, 'cos she's paid what she's worth.

  32. Dave

    Darwin and the JATO rocket

    Haven't we already had this story? I mean the one about strapping a rocket to a car and then slamming it into a cliff when the road turned left and the car didn't? I'm sure the Darwin Awards have plenty of mentions.

    (apart from the fact that Mythbusters proved you could actually do it if you did it properly and your control helicopter was fast enough)

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Terrible Name Shurely?

    As others have noted, the original Bloodhound was a SAM, ie. a device designed to accelerate to very high speeds quickly and then go impressively bang - surely not a great name for a human-carrying vehicle? Can't see any Yankee LSR teams calling their car "Sidewinder" or suchlike...

  34. Anonymous Coward

    @Evil Graham

    There was a Bristol Bloodhound missile, so they may be harking back to that.

    Apparently this one will be powered by a jet engine and a rocket (rather than ram jets and rocket boosters).

    Which to my mind sounds more like the Saunders-Roe SR.53 with wheels on.

    Now I think on it the Fairey Delta 2 passed 1000 mph back in '54 - see how far we've come.

  35. Robert Moore

    Top Gear

    How long until Clarkson orders one?

  36. Chris G

    Not a waste of time

    Keeping a very fast thing on the ground without losing stability is very difficult so from an engineering/scientific point of view, is quite worthwhile. I hope they achieve their aim, a thousand miles an hour on wheels that are not connected to a track is quite something.

    As far as encouraging kids to enter science and tech careers? Waste of time! Try re-engineering the style and sylabus of those subjects that relate i.e. maths,physics,chemistry,english, try making them interesting in class and while that's happening try re-engineering the greenie/luddite/hippy/humanities degreed teachers that are responsible for encouraging our children to be the future of the country instead of what holds it back. Parents who try to encourage and teach their kids are often told off by teachers because they think it interferes with their own teaching methods(whatever those are). Parents should be in control of their kids not the state, try getting parents to stop being soap and reality show fikkies and maybe that will influence the kids.

  37. Ivan Headache

    Re Bloodhounds

    "In reality they didn't live up to their hype, and we are now several generations of manned fighters further on."

    Of course they didn't - no-one invaded us to be shot down.

    Of course we are - you can't support a national defence industry just producing SAMs.

  38. James O'Brien

    Next up

    (that evening in a bar)

    Dude, im not too wasted I can drive!


    (Next day in the news)



    OHHH yeah I cant wait to see this one.

  39. david bates
    Thumb Up

    What a load of...


    Honestly, it will be great. I can't wait to see that thing hit 1k mph.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Now it becomes clear ...

    Brits killed steve fossett to keep the world land speed record.

  41. michael

    @Pete James

    "Kids won't suddenly embrace physics and want to become engineers just because they saw someone drive quick."

    why not it works for top gear

  42. Thomas Bottrill

    Thrust 2

    My favourite bit of the Transport Museum in Coventry as a child was the Thrust 2 display at the end, and it always gave goosebumps when they raised the screen and revealed Thrust 2 behind it. I even used to have a toy model of it.

    Of course, now they've replaced it with a Thrust SSC simulator, which just doesn't have the same effect.

    Anyway, my point is that things like this can make us proud. It shows that we at least still have some engineering talent, and that we can actually achieve things (no matter how pointless they may actually be). I don't know if it had a subconscious effect on me or not, but I did end up doing a degree in physics.

  43. James Hughes

    Non-contributary title because its needs one.

    Take a look at Starchaser as another British company trying to promote science and technology in schools. Be worth comparing to see if they are getting anywhere. It about the only way they can keep developing their rockets because of lack of funding IIRC.

    It seem to me that the government cannot be arsed to fund this sort of thing, which, if my 6 year old is anything to go by, DOES promote an interest in science and technology. Most of the money comes from donations, which is a bloody sad state of affairs.

  44. goggyturk

    So cynical...

    "An intelligent child with a good Maths GCSE might look at all this and conclude that the way to success, riches and fame is not a career as an engineer (a real one, not an MCSE). Rather, the nipper might think, it's better to buy and sell companies or become a fighter pilot."

    Can't speak for anyone else, but the reason I got into science wasn't because I wanted to be rich and famous. It was because I had an itch to know more about the way the universe works. Also, when I was growing up, I enjoyed these old stories about Donald Campbell, the Supermarine Schneider trophy winners, Chuck Yeager, and all the rest, and they definitely increased my interest in all things scientific and engineering. The same goes for my nephew, now 11. So going from what I remember of my own and other kid's motivations, I think this will probably have the desired effect, and may be worth the 1e-7% of the annual national budget that gets ploughed into it.

  45. This post has been deleted by its author

  46. SonofRojBlake


    "Blighty pretty much has the land speed record arena to itself these days"

    Could that be because nobody else gives a toss? Which begs the question, why do we?

    When have India and China even bothered to try, and they've got more top class engineers than we've got total population.

  47. Dom

    Everybody forgotten Breedlove?

    All this nonsense about nobody else bothering is, err, nonsense. In 96 and 97 (the ThrustSSC year, you might say) Craig Breedlove was busy tearing up the Black Rock Desert at more than 650 miles an hour.

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