Bloodhound project seeks new driver in pursuit of 800mph

Bloodhound CEO Stuart Edmondson said: “As we enter a new chapter of the Bloodhound LSR project, I’m excited about the opportunity and challenges that lie ahead and confident that this will enable us to return to South Africa and set a new record. 

“With a new driver, along with my aim of not using fossil fuels to set a new FIA Outright World Land Speed Record, the project promises to be exciting, engaging and relevant at so many levels.”

Bloodhound’s zero-emissions push

Powered by conventional jet fuel, Bloodhound ran successfully in 2019 at speeds of up to 628mph (the current record, achieved by the same team with the Thrust SCC car in 1997, stands at 763.035mph) on a specially prepared track at Hakskeen Pan in the north of South Africa.

However, the arrival of new CEO Edmondson, with a radical plan to run the car’s Rolls-Royce-made Eurofighter Typhoon engines on specially formulated zero-emissions synthetic fuel, has transformed the project’s relevance and appeal, especially since the car’s previous high-capacity ICE-powered fuel pump has also been ditched in favour of an EV pump and a lightweight battery.

Edmondson, a project manager and professional fast-jet engineer who joined Bloodhound in 2014 at the end of a 19-year Royal Air Force career, believes Bloodhound can contribute invaluable data towards the “rapidly accelerating and very exciting” development of tomorrow’s jet fuels.

“Our Rolls-Royce EJ200 engine powers something like 1000 jet fighters in use across the world, and they’re likely to be around for years to come,” he said. “It helps a lot that our tests are fundamentally safe, because our car is always on the ground if something goes wrong.”

Edmondson admits that as “a fire-breathing machine of the old school”, Bloodhound had lost its relevance, but as a user of synthetic fuels, it has become important all over again.

He also hopes that this change will renew the project’s appeal to young people. Bloodhound has always set great store by its contact with students, hoping it will encourage them to follow STEM subjects.

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