Since the Thrust 2 back in 1984, Britain has held the Land Speed Record, this also includes the greatly immortalized Thrust SSC of 1997 which remains the current world beater. Thus, Britain has held the record for three decades now.
Another Golden Age?
This is a remarkable time where the land speed record is concerned. This is because there are number of competing teams that are each going for land speed glory. This is reminiscent of other golden ages especially in the 1930s and 1960s. Today, there are three continents each having a go at being the fastest.
Britain’s Still Got It?
Three decades on and Britain is still at it, as they are the front runner with the Bloodhound SSC. A project that gets the MoD’s support and a team of the best minds from F1 and aeronautical world. By far it looks to be the best sponsored, however money aside there is a dogged determination to ensure that the record stays in Britain.
Now let’s take a look at competing projects from Australia and North America. Here are the Bloodhound’s SSC contenders:
The North American Eagle
Instead of fitting a jet engine inside the chassis of a car, the North American team comprising of Canadian and American engineers has used a military jet fighter and cut of the wings. Added to this they have installed high speed wheels. The use of the old jet fighter may be due to budgetary constraints. Having a simple approach and keeping the costs low is admirable, but it also has its challenges. Adapting a jet for land use isn’t as easy as cutting the wings and adding a set of wheels. The aerodynamics of driving at supersonic speeds on the ground have to be taken into account.
The car is aiming to beat the record set in 1997 by the Thrust SSC team of 763 mph. Their targeted speed is at 808 mph. However, the project has been ongoing for over a decade and time is moving ever so quickly. The Bloodhound is targeting 850 mph next year in South Africa, before it eventually goes for 1000 mph. You can check their official site at here.
The story behind this car is quite sad. Steve Fossett purchased the “Sonic Arrow”, which ran concurrently with the Thrust SSC during its record run in 1997. The car was purchased from Craig Breedlove and the American Adventurer had it refurbished as he was setting out to have an onslaught on the Thrust SSC’s record. However, sadly Steve Fossett disappeared in 2007 in a light aircraft. The wreckage was found a year later. Before his disappearance he was said to be in the final stages of challenging for the record. The car was put for sell and it is rumored to have a buyer.
Whomever purchases the car, they are getting a machine that has been engineered to run faster and more safely. The car looks the same however its engine and chassis has been refurbished, and everything else inside the car has changed. Details are sketchy, Fossett was targeting beating the 763 mph record, which definitely means this car is a fast runner.
The Aussie Invader 5R
The Aussie-version of Richard Noble has got to be Rosco McGlashan, who has been actively going for the LSR for a number of years now. He was able to reach 500 mph with his Aussie Invader 2 which used Noble’s Thrust 2 single-jet-engine design in 94’. However, during the run he badly damaged his jet car by hitting a timing light. Rosco responded by building the Aussie Invader 3 (AI3) which he had hoped would beat the earlier set record of 633 mph in 1984. However, due to bad weather postponements during 1996/7, the new record was set at 763 mph. Unfortunately for Rosco his AI3 wasn’t that fast enough.
Now as a testament to this man’s extra-ordinary determination he hasn’t quit. This time he hopes to get it right with the Aussie Invader 5R. This Invader weighs nearly 10 tons similar to the weight of the Thrust SSC. The Invader has 200,000 hp to play with that is 65,000 hp more than the Bloodhound. However, the Invader is weightier and thus needs more power to move.
Other Notable Projects
Here is a list of which other projects that are out there:
- Sonic Wind LSRV – An idea headed by Waldo Stakes, who has ex-NASA components at his disposal as he intends to build a rocket car in the US.
- The Bullet Project – This is an Australian blueprint of a rocket car that aims to go as fast as 1000 mph. The Project like Bloodhound plans to also start up an educational program around the technology of their car.
- Craig Breedlove’s Project – Yes, this is the same Craig that sold the “Sonic Arrow.” Craig has been feted 5 times with the LSR. This time Craig is leading another US attempt, and they are hoping to do this through a car that is set on twin jet engines.
After reading this you are able to see that there is only one true competitor to the Bloodhound if we are going to base it strictly on the targeted top speed and accumulative horse power and that’s the Aussie Invader 5R.
Do you agree with our assessment or do you feel that we have a Bloodhound bias? Leave a comment and have your say below.
Also you may like:
- Thrust SSC: Land’s Speed of Sound Pioneer
- Bloodhound SSC: The Fastest Car Ever, And Its Got Three Engines