back to article Bloodhound rocket car target of 550mph put on ice after engine overheat

The Bloodhound land speed team hit 500mph (804kmph) yesterday but had to call off today's target of 550mph (885kmph) after an engine temperature warning. The car reached 501mph (806kph) and successfully trialled the modified brake chutes. The team said there was noticeable yaw caused by a light cross-wind but the car remained …

  1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?

    Discovery Channel

    Dear El Reg,

    Please can we start referring to them as The Bloodhound Gang?

    Kind Regards,

    Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?

  2. imanidiot Silver badge

    That is some serious power being displayed there. Best of luck to them. May their salt be flat and their runs smooth.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I bet Green's runs were incredibly smooth when he hit that cross wind.

      1. 0laf Silver badge

        Dear AC

        Excellent multiple entendre, good work.

        As for the car, this is mostly pointless yet fascinating.

        Onwards chaps to 1000mph but stay safe

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dear AC

          The thing is, what's the big deal about 1000 mph? I could understand cracking the land speed of sound barrier, but 1000 mph seems like a very arbitrary and risky target.

          1. IGotOut Silver badge

            Re: Dear AC

            Just like doing 100mph was once also a crazy and dangerous thing to do not that long ago.

            And an arbitrary number??? Maybe 962.54 is better?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Dear AC

              Travelling in a motor vehicle at 100 mph over land is useful and practical, within the limits of engineering. As for 1000 mph? Not so much.

              I could only imagine those kinds of speeds being realistic in a semi-evacuated tube/tunnel arrangement like the Hyperloop concept. As such, even the data gathered during Bloodhound's 1000 mph run won't be of relevance because the aerodynamics will be completely different.

              1. Wellyboot Silver badge

                Re: Dear AC

                They're doing it because they think they can - like climbing Everest or going to the moon.

                When they succeed Ian & Andy should never have to buy their own beer again.

                1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

                  Re: Dear AC

                  For their efforts so far on the various Thrust projects, neither Andy Green nor Richard Noble should already be buying their own beer...

              2. anothercynic Silver badge

                Re: Dear AC

                It's ultimately not about the speed. It's about all the fascinating technology enhancements too that this project needs. Precision-milled wheels, CFD-driven modelling and the refinement of those models, the list goes on and on... And the project fascinates kids, which drives them to engage in STEM subjects, which in turn in a decade or two drives STEM career uptake.

                1. ChrisC

                  Re: Dear AC

                  It seems we were thinking much along the same lines at the same time - your reply here is a somewhat more succinct version of what I was trying to say with my slightly more rambly response...

              3. ChrisC

                Re: Dear AC

                But the data gathered during the test runs *will* be of use in validating the simulation models, which in turn may then be of use in other scenarios. There's also the question of whether any of the technology might have applications in areas where similar forces/speeds are present - e.g. does the work that's gone into designing the Bloodhound wheels provide us with any new data that might be useful when designing high-RPM flywheels for energy storage?

                I honestly don't know the answer to that or any other similar "what if/does this" questions that could be asked of other aspects of the Bloodhound project, but I'd be amazed if, once it's all done and dusted, it hasn't generated even a single piece of knowledge/data that can be put to good use somewhere else. And, even if it genuinely doesn't generate anything of tangible value at the end, it has acted as something of a useful catalyst for getting more people engaged in STEM - if it then results in even a tiny percentage uptick in the number of people choosing to follow a STEM educational and career path rather than whatever else they might have considered doing with their lives, the potential long term value of that effect is not to be sniffed at.

              4. Chris G Silver badge

                Re: Dear AC

                If humanity was driven only by what is practical and/or relevant, we would be living in a poorer and less interesting world. Besides, you never know what might be found to be useful later on, in the apparently irrelevant knowledge the Bloodhound team gain from this endeavour.

                1. Robert Helpmann??

                  Re: Dear AC

                  Once upon a time, the space race was all about two countries trying to one-up each other, nothing more. Since then, so very many technologies have grown from it, industries have been built around it and generally the world is a better place for it. This is just one example where this sort of effort has led to all sorts of unintended but useful outcomes. Plus it sure beats warfare as a driver of innovation.

              5. ridley

                Re: Dear AC

                Are you going for maximum down votes?

                (I know that is asking for it but I am willing to take one for the team)

          2. Len Silver badge

            Re: Dear AC

            It's obviously arbitrary. If they had used a different measurement system (furlongs per fortnight?) they would have chosen a different speed target.

            If you read it as "the team is attempting to push the car over the 1,609 km/h mark" it loses all sense. I do wonder why they chose to use English measures when this is obviously a global competition. Why not push for the 1500 km/h mark?

            Actually, it makes most sense to first aim for the 1,235 km/h mark, the speed of sound. The added benefit is that you break the current record of 1,228 km/h which narrowly avoided breaking the speed of sound by only 7 km/h.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              What am I missing?

              Actually, it makes most sense to first aim for the 1,235 km/h mark, the speed of sound. The added benefit is that you break the current record of 1,228 km/h which narrowly avoided breaking the speed of sound by only 7 km/h.

              On October 15, 1997, in a vehicle designed and built by a team led by Richard Noble, Royal Air Force pilot Andy Green became the first person to break the sound barrier in a land vehicle in compliance with Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile rules. The vehicle, called the ThrustSSC ("Super Sonic Car"), captured the record 50 years and one day after Yeager's first supersonic flight.


            2. Wellyboot Silver badge

              Re: Dear AC

              The current record is supersonic, the sonic bang was heard on both runs.

              The target is in MPH because only us Brits & the Yanks have been mad enough to try this sort of stunt.

            3. thondwe

              Re: Dear AC

              Speed of sound varies depending on altitude/air pressure/temperature. Thrust SSC broke speed of sound where and when it ran Black Rock - 1000m altitude - booms were recorded. Hakskeen Pan is 800m so speed of sound a bit faster this time...

            4. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Dear AC

              I do wonder why they chose to use English measures when this is obviously a global competition.

              Because they are English.

            5. ridley

              Re: Dear AC

              Trying to put a specific value to the speed of sound like that is a fools errand.

              The actual speed if sound depends on so many criteria for that specific place at that specific time.

              The actual speed of sound will vary thoughout the day even at a specific location.

            6. Stork Silver badge

              Re: Dear AC

              I suspect it was supersonic because it was significantly above sea level and/or it was hotter than 20C.

            7. david 12

              Re: Dear AC

              I do wonder why they chose to use English measures

              Imperial measures.

              Or actually, since the Imperial measures were re-negotiated during and after WWII, International Measures.

          3. Essuu

            Re: what's the big deal about 1000 mph?

            Although it is somewhat arbitrary, it also happens to be around where the laws of physics come into play to define a theoretical maximum based on our current technologies. See for why we can't generate enough power to overcome the drag within a buildable vehicle. At least, safely. It might be possible to put a rocket on its side with some wheels but going fast is only half the equation. Staying on the ground and stopping safely is just as important !

            1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

              Re: what's the big deal about 1000 mph?

              URBAN LEGEND!

              The Arizona Highway Patrol were mystified when they came upon a pile of smoldering wreckage embedded in the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. The metal debris resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it turned out to be the vaporized remains of an automobile. The make of the vehicle was unidentifiable at the scene.

              The folks in the lab finally figured out what it was, and pieced together the events that led up to its demise.

              It seems that a former Air Force sergeant had somehow got hold of a JATO (Jet Assisted Take-Off) unit. JATO units are solid fuel rockets used to give heavy military transport airplanes an extra push for take-off from short airfields.

              Dried desert lakebeds are the location of choice for breaking the world ground vehicle speed record. The sergeant took the JATO unit into the Arizona desert and found a long, straight stretch of road. He attached the JATO unit to his car, jumped in, accelerated to a high speed, and fired off the rocket.

              The facts, as best as could be determined, are as follows:

              The operator was driving a 1967 Chevy Impala. He ignited the JATO unit approximately 3.9 miles from the crash site. This was established by the location of a prominently scorched and melted strip of asphalt. The vehicle quickly reached a speed of between 250 and 300 mph and continued at that speed, under full power, for an additional 20-25 seconds. The soon-to-be pilot experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog-fighting F-14 jocks under full afterburners.

              The Chevy remained on the straight highway for approximately 2.6 miles (15-20 seconds) before the driver applied the brakes, completely melting them, blowing the tires, and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface. The vehicle then became airborne for an additional 1.3 miles, impacted the cliff face at a height of 125 feet, and left a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the rock.

              Most of the driver's remains were not recovered; however, small fragments of bone, teeth, and hair were extracted from the crater, and fingernail and bone shards were removed from a piece of debris believed to be a portion of the steering wheel.

              1. Mark 85 Silver badge

                Re: what's the big deal about 1000 mph?

                Thanks for that classic Darwin Award fiction.

              2. Fungus Bob

                Re: what's the big deal about 1000 mph?

                The Origin of the Urban Legend:


                1. JCitizen Bronze badge
                  Black Helicopters

                  Re: what's the big deal about 1000 mph?

                  Andy Granitelli ran the legendary STP Indy car racing teams of the 60's and 70's. Detailed in his book about testing JATO rockets on 1940 built cars; and survived a stint of over 150 mph. Now the only reason he survived was because these were 1st generation rockets, and he was lucky most of them didn't ignite, and probably because of the old fuel in them didn't put out the power they might have as brand new.

                  You can believe it or not, but I read about it when I was a kid, and he even had pictures of the following chase car which had windows and head lights fused so badly by the heat, that you couldn't see out of the car anymore. He had about three rockets on the car, IIRC, and only one fired, undoubtedly saving his life.

          4. anothercynic Silver badge

            Re: Dear AC

            Well... It's a nice round figure for a start, but it ultimately gets people interested and engaged!

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Dear AC

            > The thing is, what's the big deal about 1000 mph?

            Because the zeroes in 1,000 are as precision milled as the car's wheels.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Dear AC

              So its a three wheeler? An overgrown reliant robin with a big firecracker in the back-end?

          6. Persona Silver badge

            Re: Dear AC

            Pushing the land speed record is a bit like being addicted to crack cocaine. You have to keep coming back for more. Unfortunately it too often ends only in tragedy and death. The main difference is that a cocaine habit is much much cheaper.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a bad feeling about this project...

    Really hope I'm wrong, but I can't help thinking they're going to experience a Donald Campbell moment as they push on towards 1k.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I have a bad feeling about this project...

      Thrust SSC could generate 20 tonnes of down-force to keep it on the salt. Bloodhound LSR will be doing something similar. Not so easy on water - unless you want to become the world's fastest submarine ... until the pressure causes your vessel to disassemble itself.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: I have a bad feeling about this project...

        I'd like to think there is some serious computer based stability control going on as well!

        1. Essuu

          Re: serious computer based stability control

          Actually, there isn't. They spent three years developing the aerodynamic shape so that it didn't need any active control. That's something you definitely wouldn't want to go wrong at those kind of speeds !

      2. ridley

        Re: I have a bad feeling about this project...

        Have a look at John Cobb's demise on YouTube like Campbell he died on water whilst attempting a record. His did the opposite if Campbell's and dived rather than flew it was all over incredibly quickly ,mercifully.

        Respect to all those who push the envelope just because it is there.

    2. Dave 32

      Re: I have a bad feeling about this project...

      There are some serious concerns about stability, and error recovery. The recent crash of the North American Eagle, which was another vehicle set to challenge the land speed record, and the accompanying death of driver Jessi Combs, illustrates exactly how dangerous this sport can be.


    3. ridley

      Re: I have a bad feeling about this project...

      Now that would be impressive in a desert.

      (Too soon?)

  4. Blockchain commentard

    How about this idea for an additional publicity stunt?

    The World Record for fastest bicycle speed was done by holding onto the back of a Porsche (initially). How about putting a hand grip on the back of the Bloodhound ......

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: How about this idea for an additional publicity stunt?


    2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: How about this idea for an additional publicity stunt?

      Calling Guy Martin...

      He can even bring his own fireproof racing suit?

      1. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

        Re: How about this idea for an additional publicity stunt?

        He'll need yet another Irish passport

  5. Dwarf Silver badge

    <Scottish accent>The engines cannae take it captain</Scottish accent>

    Well, someone had to say it ...

    1. dak

      Naw they didnae.

  6. baud Bronze badge

    Regarding the car, does it makes sense to have a pilot in it? Would the record be invalid without one? I mean the piloting could be done remotely with much less risk of loss of human life.

    1. batfink Silver badge

      @Baud I'm genuinely unsure whether to upvote or downvote you for this.

      You deserve an upvote for making a sensible point about driver (pilot?) safety.

      However you deserve a downvote for thinking it should be unmanned. Surely the point of the whole thing is putting your arse on the line to do this. Without that, it's much the same as just firing cannonballs downrange.

    2. Spherical Cow Bronze badge

      Do the run twice. Once on autopilot with a big sack of potatoes in the seat, and if that works do it a second time with a human pilot.

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: Once on autopilot with a big sack of potatoes in the seat

        Lentils would be better - there would be a bit more legume.

    3. Phil Kingston

      It'll be in the FIA rules for a valid record attempt that they recognise I expect.

  7. Roger Mew

    Just a thought, for it to be a vehicle the wheels have to be driven. In the 1972 I was at Lakenheath in a US service vehicle and gave a lift down the flightline to a pilot whose plain was being serviced by my hanger. He got clearance to let me run the vehicle as I went back to the PX when he was taking off. For the record in his Macdonnell Voodoo I started and at the 1/2 mile point he started. I went as fast as the vehicle could go. He passed me at 1/2 mile + 50 yds at 55o miles per hour still on the ground and took off just in front of me. There was a reason why many people were interested, This I cannot go into but does this mean that his voodoo was a car, of course not so what is the difference to the thing they are running. Many many of Lakenheaths lower ranks enjoyed the above and was discussed by many, as was my purple US forces truck!

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      No the wheels don’t have to be driven - that’s a different record (503mph a quick google suggests)

      1. Persona Silver badge

        With no need for driven wheels I would design it as a drogue sled with metal wheels that skims along the ground while towed from a low flying supersonic aircraft.

    2. PerlyKing Silver badge

      Bad troll... cookie.

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      550 mph still on the ground?

      On a special top secret undercarriage with specially developed wheels and tyres?

      No undercarriage can be lowered at anywhere near that speed. No aircraft tyres can spin at that speed.

      1. Blockchain commentard

        No undercarriage made by humans.....

        No wheels/tyres made by humans.....

  8. The Nazz Silver badge

    Seven figures to a Yorkshireman ...

    could be as little as £10,198.34.

    Though i doubt that would buy much more than a few seconds of Eurofighter jet fuel.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Seven figures to a Yorkshireman ...

      As a yorkshireman once told me, they're like the Scots with all the generosity and largesse squeezed out of them.

  9. Occams_Cat

    I would like to propose all countries compete in this every four years; The Land Speed Olympics. Whomever wins with the top speed (stops safely or blows up en route ) gets to impose it's foreign policy on all other countries for 4 years. Spicy.

    1. Persona Silver badge

      That would be a very dangerous sport to compete in. All sort of strange things would go wrong.

  10. earl grey

    fair winds and clear sky

    and some of these at the end of the track/day

  11. LucasNorth

    bloodhound is such a boring project and such a waste of money

  12. Man inna barrel

    Not the real land speed record?

    Call me old-fashioned if you like, but I think the last real land speed record was Bluebird (Donald Campbell, 1964, 403.1 mph), because the motive power was driven via the wheels. Ever since then, land speed record vehicles have in effect been jet or rocket aircraft that do not take off. I remember thinking at the time that Craig Breedlove's jet-driven Spirit of America was cheating.

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