Bloodhound LSR

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(Redirected from Bloodhound SSC)

Bloodhound LSR
Bloodhound LSR logo.png
ManufacturerGrafton LSR Ltd, Bristol
AssemblyUK Land Speed Record Centre, Berkeley, Gloucestershire, England
Body and chassis
ClassLand speed record vehicle
EngineRolls-Royce Eurojet EJ200 afterburning turbofan
Wheelbase8.9 m (29 ft)
Length12.9 m (42 ft)
Width2.5 m (8.2 ft)
Height3.0 m (9.8 ft)
Kerb weight6,422 kg (14,158 lb) fuelled

Bloodhound LSR, formerly Bloodhound SSC, is a British land vehicle designed to travel at supersonic speeds with the intention of setting a new world land speed record.[1] The arrow-shaped car, under development since 2008, is powered by a jet engine and will be fitted with an additional rocket engine.[2] The initial goal is to exceed the current speed record of 763 mph (1,228 km/h), with the vehicle believed to be able to achieve up to 1,000 miles per hour (1,609 km/h).[3][4][5]

Driver Andy Green will attempt to break his own record, set in 1997. The previous business behind Project Bloodhound went into administration (bankruptcy) in late 2018. Entrepreneur Ian Warhurst bought the car to keep the project alive. A new company called Grafton LSR Ltd was formed to manage the project, which was renamed Bloodhound LSR and moved to SGS Berkeley Green University Technical College. Lack of funds and the COVID-19 pandemic stalled progress in 2020, and in 2021 the vehicle was offered for sale.

The venue for high speed testing and future world land speed record attempts is the Hakskeen Pan in the Mier area of the Northern Cape, South Africa. An area 12 miles (19 km) long and 3 miles (4.8 km) wide was identified as suitable, with the first runs in October 2019. Further runs in November 2019 achieved a top speed of 628 miles per hour (1,011 km/h), the eighth vehicle to attain a land speed of over 600 miles per hour (970 km/h).



The Bloodhound project was announced on 23 October 2008 at the London Science Museum by Lord Drayson – then Minister of Science in the UK's Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills – who first suggested the project in 2006 to land speed record holders Richard Noble and Andy Green, a pilot and Wing Commander serving in the RAF.[6][7] The two men, between them, have held the land speed record since 1983.[8]

In 1983, Noble, a self-described engineer and adventurer[9] reached 633 mph (1,019 km/h) driving a turbojet-powered car named Thrust2 across the Nevada desert.[10] In 1997, he headed the project to build ThrustSSC, which was driven by Green at 763 mph (1,228 km/h), thereby breaking the sound barrier, a first for a land vehicle (in compliance with Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile rules).[10] Green is also Bloodhound LSR's driver.[11]

The Bloodhound project was named for the Bristol Bloodhound surface-to-air missile, a project that Bloodhound Chief Aerodynamicist Ron Ayers had previously worked on.[12]

The project was at first based in the former Maritime Heritage Centre on the Bristol harbourside, next to Brunel's SS Great Britain. In 2013 the project relocated to a larger site in Avonmouth.[13] The head offices of the project moved to Didcot, Oxfordshire in late 2015.[14]

2017 tests[edit]

Runway testing of up to 200 miles per hour (320 km/h) took place on 26, 28 and 30 October 2017 at Newquay Airport, Cornwall.[15][16]

2018 change of ownership[edit]

In May 2018, the team announced plans for high speed testing at 500–600 mph (800–970 km/h) in May 2019, and then a 1,000 mph (1,600 km/h) run in 2020.[17] However, the company backing the project, Bloodhound Programme Ltd, went into administration (bankruptcy) in late 2018 leaving a funding gap of £25 million, which put the venture's future into question.[18][19]

Bloodhound LSR at the launch event, SGS Berkeley Green UTC, 2019

The project was "axed" in December 2018, with plans to sell off the remaining assets.[20] Later that month, Yorkshire entrepreneur Ian Warhurst stepped in to rescue the project by buying the assets and intellectual property, including the car, for an undisclosed sum.[21][22]

2019 tests[edit]

In March 2019, it was announced that Warhurst had formed a new company called Grafton LSR Ltd. to manage the project, which became the car's legal owner. The company said in a statement that Warhurst was trying to save the project with new sponsors and partners.[23][24][25]

The name of the new team became 'Bloodhound LSR' (for Land Speed Record). The car and the project's headquarters moved to SGS Berkeley Green University Technical College in Berkeley, Gloucestershire near Gloucester.[26]

High speed testing of the car took place at the Hakskeen Pan in October and November 2019. Test runs driven by Green began on 25 October, using only a Rolls-Royce Eurojet EJ200 engine, with an expectation of reaching 400–500 mph (640–800 km/h).[27] The car achieved 501 mph (806 km/h) on 6 November 2019,[28] and a final top speed of 628 mph (1,011 km/h) on 16 November, making it the eighth vehicle to attain a land speed of over 600 mph.[2]


Lack of funds prevented the fitting of the Nammo rocket in 2020, and combined with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, this meant the opportunity to run the vehicle in 2021 was lost. In January 2021, Warhurst said the vehicle was up for sale and it was reported that the team had moved on to other projects.[29] Warhurst stepped aside as CEO in August 2021 and Stuart Edmondson, the project's Engineering Operations Manager for the previous five years, took over the role.[30] When interviewed in July 2022 Edmundson stated that, while on hold, the Bloodhound LSR project was "very much alive" and a new land speed record could be achieved very quickly if new investment could be secured. Edmundson also reported that the project had adopted a new environmental focus, with the aim of achieving a net zero carbon land speed record.[31]

The vehicle currently resides at Coventry Transport Museum.



The car was designed by Bloodhound's Chief Aerodynamicist Ron Ayers and Chief Engineer Mark Chapman, along with aerodynamicists from Swansea University.[32][33]

Bloodhound LSR is designed to accelerate from 0 to 800 mph (1,300 km/h) in 38 seconds and decelerate using airbrakes at around 800 mph, a parachute at a maximum deployment speed of around 650 mph (1,050 km/h) and disc brakes below 200 mph (320 km/h).[34] The force on the driver during acceleration would be 2.5 g (two-and-a-half times his body weight) and up to 3 g during deceleration.[35]


The aerodynamics of Bloodhound have been carefully calculated to make sure the car is safe and stable, particularly because it will create a shockwave when it reaches the speed of sound.[36]

The College of Engineering at Swansea University has been heavily involved in the aerodynamic shape of the vehicle from the start. Dr Ben Evans and his team used Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) technology designed by Professor Oubay Hassan and Professor Ken Morgan to provide an understanding of the aerodynamic characteristics of the proposed shape, at all speeds, including predicting the likely vertical, lateral and drag forces on the vehicle and its pitch and yaw stability.[37][38][39][40] This technology, originally developed for the aerospace industry, was validated for a land-going vehicle during the design of ThrustSSC.


Three prototype Eurojet EJ200 jet engines developed for the Eurofighter and bound for a museum were loaned to the project.[41] The car will use one EJ200 to provide around half the thrust and power the car to 650 mph (1,050 km/h).[42][15] A custom monopropellant rocket designed by Nammo will be used to add extra thrust for the world land speed record runs. For the 1,000 mph (1,600 km/h) runs, the monopropellant rocket will be replaced with a hybrid rocket from Nammo.[15] A third engine, a Jaguar supercharged V-8 is used as an auxiliary power unit to drive the oxidiser pump for the rocket, although this will be replaced by an electric motor.[15]

The cockpit exterior

Initially Bloodhound SSC was going to use a custom hybrid rocket motor being designed by Daniel Jubb. The rocket was successfully tested at Newquay Airport in 2012.[43] However, constraints on cost, time and test facilities led to a decision to instead use a rocket designed by Norwegian company Nammo.[44]

At first the plan was that the car would use a Nammo hybrid rocket or cluster of rockets, to be fuelled by solid hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene and liquid high-test peroxide oxidiser.[44] This plan was revised in 2017 and the car will use a monopropellant rocket for the land speed record runs.[45]

For the car to achieve 800 mph (1,300 km/h), the monopropellant rocket would need to produce around 40 kN (8992 lbf) of thrust and the EJ200 jet engine 90 kN (20,232 lbf) in reheat.[46]

Cockpit interior


For low-speed testing at Cornwall Airport Newquay in 2017, the car was fitted with four runway wheels based on those of an English Electric Lightning fighter jet with refurbished original tyres.[47] These were replaced for the high-speed test runs in the desert in South Africa in 2019 by four 90-centimetre (35 in) diameter wheels weighing 95 kg (209 lb), forged from an aircraft-grade aluminium zinc alloy.[48] These were designed to spin at up to 10,200 rpm and resist centrifugal forces of up to 50000 g at the rim.[49][50]

Wheel bearings[edit]

Three Timken high-speed (DN around 1,000,000 at full speed) tapered roller bearings support each wheel.[51][52] When the car's mass increased to 7,500 kg (16,500 lb), Timken recalculated bearing life to be 50 hours, or a 5000% safety factor given the less than 1 hour run time.[53]


The car was built at sites in Bristol and Avonmouth.[54][13] A full-scale model was unveiled at the 2010 Farnborough International Airshow,[55] when it was announced that Hampson Industries would begin to build the rear chassis section of the car in the first quarter of 2011 and that a deal for the manufacture of the front of the car was due. The car was largely completed by October 2017 when full reheat static testing was undertaken with the jet engine at Cornwall Airport Newquay followed by low speed test runs.[56]

Further construction was carried out before the project went into administration and the car was then completed at Berkeley before high speed testing.

Testing locations[edit]

Early in the project, Swansea University's School of the Environment and Society was enlisted to help determine a new test site for the record runs because the test site for the ThrustSSC record attempt had become unsuitable.[57] The venue chosen for high speed testing and for the land speed record runs was Hakskeen Pan in the Mier area of the Northern Cape, South Africa, on a track measuring 12 miles (19 km) long. The local community cleared 16,500 tonnes of stones by hand from an area measuring 22 million square metres to create space for 20 tracks each 10 metres wide, as the car cannot run twice on the same strip of desert.[58][59][60][61]

Low speed runway testing of over 200 mph (320 km/h) occurred on 26, 28 and 30 October 2017 at Cornwall Airport Newquay.[56]

High speed testing at Hakskeen Pan began in October 2019. The car achieved 628 mph (1,011 km/h) on its final run on 16 November 2019.

Education and STEM outreach[edit]

The Bloodhound Project had an education component designed to inspire future generations to take up careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by showcasing these subjects and interacting with young people and students, in partnership with engineering companies including Rolls-Royce.[62] Bloodhound-related education activities are provided by Bloodhound Education Ltd, a standalone charity registered in 2016.[63] The charity's Bloodhound Education Centre is at SGS Berkeley Green UTC.[64]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Noble, Green and Team Target 1,000MPH Record Thursday, 23 October 2008
  2. ^ a b Amos, Jonathan (16 November 2019). "Bloodhound land speed racer blasts to 628mph". BBC News: Science. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  3. ^ "Supersonic car targets 1,000mph". BBC News. 22 October 2008. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  4. ^ Jonathan M. Gitlin (24 November 2018). "Bloodhound SSC: How do you build a car capable of 1,000mph?". Ars Technica. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
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External links[edit]