Bloodhound supersonic car arrives in South Africa for high-speed test runs

A Bristol-built supersonic car that will attempt to break the world’s land-speed record has arrived in South Africa for test runs.

Bloodhound LSR will be trialled at speeds of 500mph (800km/h) in a dried-out lake bed in Hakskeenpan desert in the Northern Cape.

The car, which was saved from administration at the end of 2018 after being bought up by Yorkshire businessman Ian Warhust, is aiming to break the sound barrier and beat the existing land-speed record of 763mph (1,228km/h).

 

Bloodhound was transported from Luxembourg to Johannesburg by air freight, before making a 570‑mile journey to the desert on the back of an articulated lorry.

A 25-strong team of engineers has also flown out to the site and will be working from temporary workshop, which will store the tools needed to maintain the car such as a lathe, milling machine and welding equipment.

Multiple tracks will be needed for the test run. These are being prepared by 317 members of the local Mier community, funded by the Northern Cape Government.

Ex fighter pilot Andy Green will be driving the car
(Image: PA)

The community has moved 16,500 tonnes of rock from 22 million square metres of dry lakebed – the largest area of land ever cleared by hand for a motorsport event.

“We can’t run over the same piece of ground twice because the car will break up the baked mud surface as it passes,” explained Mr Warhurst. “We need multiple tracks so we can build speed slowly and safely.

“The surface is hard, too, which means we’ve been able to design slightly narrower wheels that reduce aerodynamic drag.

“The desert surface also has a slight degree of ‘give’, which will work with the suspension to give a smoother ride, reducing vibration inside the car.”

 

Current world land-speed record holder Andy Green will be driving Bloodhound LSR.

He added: “After years of work to prepare the car, and following almost a decade of preparation of our desert track by the Northern Cape Government, we’re delighted to finally be here.

“The next few weeks will allow us to test the car and train the team, ready for our assault on the outright world land speed record next year.”

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