In 2015, if all goes well, driver Andy Green will drive Bloodhound at 1,600 kmph, faster than a bullet, faster than an aircraft
Andy Green, RAF fighter pilot, record breaker and action hero, slipped off his shoes before clambering into the cockpit of Bloodhound, the supersonic car being handcrafted in the UK to hit the 1,600 kmph mark.
By next summer Bloodhound SSC will be racing along a Cornish test track and few weeks later be transported to a desert in South Africa where the plan is for it to reach 1287 kmph and break Green’s own current land-speed record of 1227 kmph.
Then in 2015, if all goes well, Green will return to South Africa and drive Bloodhound at 1,600 kmph, faster than a bullet, faster than an aircraft.
At the unveiling of the cockpit — a key stage in the development of the 10-year project — Green said the idea was not just to make history but to push back the laws of physics and inspire a new generation across the world to become scientists and engineers. “This is the greatest engineering adventure in motor sport,” he said. It is hard to grasp just how fast 1,600mph is. Green said the best way of illustrating it was to imagine it travelling the length of a football pitch.
If a spectator blinked, he or she would not see the car driving past. The cockpit turns out to be a pleasing combination of the super-high tech and the ordinary. It features, for example, state-of-the art ballistic armour to protect the driver from a shooting stone or bird strike.
Should the digital displays suffer a catastrophic failure, the team has got Rolex to create a comforting-looking analogue stopwatch and speedometer. There are also chunky back-up levers to activate the parachutes that help stop the car and to cut off the fuel supply to the jet engine.
Green said it would be noisy, hot (there is no air conditioning). And he accepts he does not know what it will be like travelling at 1,600 kmph along a desert trace track. “This is human adventure, it’s about people doing stuff, it’s climbing Everest, it’s Neil Armstrong stepping on to the moon. We don’t know what it will be like in this cockpit. That’s part of the adventure.” — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2014