The Bloodhound Super Sonic Car (SSC) — built for a new land speed record — performed its first public run on Thursday, hitting 200 mph in just nine seconds with a Eurofighter EJ200 jet engine strapped to its back. The initial push gets the SSC up to speed before the rocket boosters kick in, which will bring the car, hopefully, up to 1,000 mph when it runs on a dry lake bed in South Africa in 2020.
Royal Air Force Wing Cmdr. Andy Green was behind the wheel during the two 1.7-mile runs down Newquay Airport’s runway. Both went off without a hitch.
“It was a real hard workout for the brakes,” said Green. “Probably up to somewhere close to a thousand degrees, the front brakes were smoking furiously after the second run. They just started to flicker with flame — very sort of Formula 1, but in a proper high-speed car. And that was exactly what we were hoping for.”
The BBC explained that at 400 mph, the tires can’t spin as fast as the car is going, and “act more like rudders on a boat.” Comforting. At 650 mph, “some of the airflows over Bloodhound’s body would approach the sound barrier.”
It should be able to hit 800 mph in 2019, before it goes for the four-figure mark in 2020. The current land speed record is 763 mph.