Bloodhound supersonic car opts to return to SA in 18 months

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The team behind the Bloodhound supersonic car hopes to be back in South Africa to challenge the land speed record in around 18 months.

The Bloodhound had a successful test run this year, with the car reaching speeds of 1010 km/h.

It’s basically a jet plane, but without the wings.

Capable of breath-taking speeds, the Bloodhound’s mission is to shatter the land speed record.

It was set by Andy Green at 1227 km/h some 22 years ago. Green is also Bloodhound’s driver and explains while the Bloodhound was fast, it will need a rocket engine to propel it throughout the speed of sound.

“We are going to need some more power to get in the 20 km we’ve got here to get up to 1300 km/h and then to stop the car safely. So principally that involves fitting the car with a rocket motor, down in the underneath the jet engine.”

Bloodhound hopes that the successful test will bring sponsors on-board. The entire project was nearly abandoned a year ago, when it hit financial problems. Ian Wurhurst bought the company, saving it.

“I have no doubt that when people see this car in the desert it’s going to go down as the fact that we got here is a reality. We will be inundated with people wanting to sponsor the car, so that what going to be happening. We are going to assume that we will achieve that and so the plan is to go full speed ahead. The real legacy of the project is about getting people excited about engineering. That’s why I’m involved. Obviously a record will be nice.”

But while the British are responsible for the magic under the hood, locals here at Hakskeenpan have been busy with magic of their own for the past 10 years.

They’ve removed more than 16 000 tonnes of stones from the pan – making it the best racetrack in the world… Kalahari resident, Donovan Bezuidenhout, says that it was an amazing feeling to see the car up close and personal for himself.

“After all these years working here and actually you can touch the car, see the car and hear it start. It was amazing is what I can tell you.”

The area is already benefiting, with tourists visiting the area. But plans are already afoot for a post-Blooodhound economic injection.

The provincial government is adamant that it wants the area to benefit beyond the bloodhound land speed record attempt. It wants to maintain the racetrack in the hope of attracting other motor and extreme sports events.