Bloodhound SSC, the British-built land speed record car, made its first public test run on Thursday. Running on the tarmac at Cornwall Airport in Newquay and piloted by RAF Wing Commander Andy Green, the jet-engined “car” ran up to 210 miles per hour. Which, all things considered, isn’t that impressive. Until you realize it did that in eight seconds.
All in all, Bloodhound’s runs were remarkably undramatic. While I’m sure the engine made quite a din if you were there in person, it doesn’t come across as such on video. It goes in a perfectly straight line, speeds up, and slows down, then does it all again for his second run. All in just half the time it took a Koenigsegg One:1 to accomplish the same feat.
Green also drove the previous record car, the Thrust SSC (both projects were also headed by engineer Richard Noble), easily distinguishable by its twin engines and generally looking like a squished SR-71 Blackbird. In 1997 it reached 763 mph in the Nevada desert.
Bloodhound aims to hit 1,000 mph next summer, but for that it won’t be able to use a wimpy little jet engine. No, for that, a full-size rocket engine will be bolted back there too. Good thing Richard Hammond won’t be driving it.