It's the stuff of your boyhood dreams. A sleek, supersized, rocket-on-wheels ride designed to hit speeds of 1,000 miles per hour. And it's fast approaching reality. Earlier this week, a team of British engineers unveiled the Bloodhound SSC, touted as the most powerful land vehicle ever made.
This massive orange and blue ride that actually looks like a rocken when standing on its back end weighs in at 7.5 tons and meatures more than 44 feet long. It's powered by a Rolls Royce EJ200 jet engine, like those used in the Typhoon fighter jet, as well as a Nammo hybrid rocket engine. And there's a supercharged Jaguar V8 engine aboard to pump the oxidizer required for the rocket to burn. the setup allows for the equivalent of 135,000 bhp of thrust.
Wheels are made of a long long, thin cylinder of pressed aluminum and spin at 10,500rpm, which means that the radial G on the rim is 50,000 times the force of gravity. But they look nothing like automotive wheels as we know them. All metal, no rubber, these wheels sport a 90-degree V-shape to their profile that resembles a boat - and with good reason.
"It works on the principle that at about 400mph the car will rise up out of the desert floor, like a speedboat," says Engineering Lead for Mechanical Design, Mark Elvin, noting that the Bloodhound is slated for speed testing next year somewhere in the Hakskeen Pan desert of South Africa. "They’ll be skimming across the surface of the desert, with a patch just 3 millimeters in width in contact with ground."
The Bloodhound SSC is the sophomore effort of the Thrust SSC, which successfully hit 763 mph. It's a joint project of experts and engineers from Formula 1, the British Army's Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and the Royal Air Force's 71 Squadron. And you can bet that we here at E3 Spark Plugs, along wiht the rest of the automotive world, will be waching next year when Wing Commander Andy D. Green OBE BA RAF, a British Royal Air Force fighter pilot and World Land Speed Record holder straps in for the speed test.