Date set for Bloodhound high-speed test programme


The Bloodhound Land Speed Record (LSR) team has announced that the Bloodhound LSR car will run for the first time on its dry lake-bed racetrack at Hakskeen Pan, Northern Cape, South Africa, in October 2019.

Following the successful 200 mph (320 km/h) UK runway trials at Cornwall Airport Newquay in October 2017, the team will be targeting 500 mph (800 km/h), a key milestone on the journey to setting a new world land-speed record. The record runs are currently scheduled for late 2020.

Since the project’s relaunch in March 2019, the team has been focusing on both the logistics of deploying the team and the car to the Kalahari Desert and converting the car from its runway design to the high-speed testing specification. This has included uprating springs and dampers and adding the parachute braking system, more air pressure and load sensors and a fire detection and suppression system.

The Bloodhound LSR team’s attempt on the world land-speed record is the first in the digital era. Data from hundreds of sensors on the car will be shared in real time to allow budding engineers to see exactly how the car is behaving as it dices with physics. The trials in South Africa will enable the team to test this data distribution, as well as the live video stream, at high speeds in preparation for the land-speed record runs.

It will also be a full dress rehearsal for the record-breaking campaign, with the team using the time to develop its operational procedures, perfect its practices for desert working and test radio communications.

Ian Warhurst, Bloodhound LSR CEO, said: “I am thrilled that we can announce Bloodhound’s first trip to South Africa for these high-speed testing runs. This world land-speed record campaign is unlike any other, with the opportunities opened up by digital technology that enabled the team to test the car’s design using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and that will allow us to gather and share data about the car’s performance in real time. In addition, we are running the car on a brand-new surface. The wheels have been designed specifically for this desert lake bed, but it will still be vital to test them at high speeds before making record speed runs.”