Ever since it was first set in 1898, the Land Speed Record has been one of the most exalted and respected of human endeavours. During the years, as the technology has changed and become more advanced, the speeds have increased to become more comparable with fighter jets than anything found on the ground. The Bloodhound Project is the latest team to set its sights on the record with a stated aim of +1,000mph. WDS is one of the companies that is sponsoring the record attempt and helping to make the impossible possible.
What is the Bloodhound?
Bloodhound SSC (Super Sonic Car) is a jet and rocket powered car designed to go at 1,000 mph (just over 1,600 kph). It has a slender body of approximately 14m length with two front wheels within the body and two rear wheels mounted externally within wheel fairings. It weighs over 7 tonnes and uses a Eurojet EJ200 jet engine and bespoke built rocket to produce more than 135,000 horsepower. A third engine, a 750hp 2.4 litre Cosworth CA2010 F1 V8, will also be used as an auxilliary power unit to drive the fuel pump for the rocket. Bloodhound SSC is a mix of car and aircraft technology, with the front half being a carbon fibre ‘monocoque’ like a racing car and the back half being a metallic framework and panels like an aircraft. The tolerances to which it’s being designed can most closely be compared to the aerospace industry.
The Land Speed Record currently stands at 763.035 mph over a one mile pass. This record was set by Andy Green in Thrust SSC in 1997 and was the first time that a car had ever broken the sound barrier.
At that time, many observers thought that this would be the last great milestone to be achieved in this record attempt’s history. However, as with all things technological – records are made to be broken. Once again, Andy Green has taken up the challenge to beat his own record. This time he has set his sights at achieving a speed of 1,000 miles plus in the Bloodhound SSC.
The Role of WDS
WDS agreed to supply the project with vital components free of charge. Bespoke-built angle plates were manufactured for use as assembly jigs for the front and rear suspension to ensure that the vehicle is assembled with absolute precision. WDS already manufacture precision built castings which are used in the aerospace industry as well as by many Formula 1 teams.
Tony Parraman, Head of Supplier Liaison observed ‘WDS has been fantastic to work with. From the first briefing, they have been pro-active and able to meet all the deadlines that were needed. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of accuracy as we put the car together and the parts WDS has supplied will play a significant part in this. It’s great that a British company has been willing to support our efforts. This project wouldn’t have got any further than the drawing board without the support of our sponsors.’
Accuracy was extremely important throughout this project as the angle plates act as a datum point for the chassis build. Cast iron was used to create the angle plates because its stability meant that it would not flex or expand in the event of temperature fluctuations and which would in turn affect the overall performance of the car. WDS carried out all of the casting and machining in house meaning that it could ensure that the very high standards required were guaranteed. Once the work was complete the parts were supplied with a certificate of conformity to confirm that they met with the signed-off design.
Chris Putman, WDS Sales and Marketing Director, noted: ‘We supplied similar components to the team that built Thrust SSC and set the last record in 1997. When we heard that Andy Green was making another attempt at the record it seemed fitting that we offer the same support, so approached Bloodhound to see if they required our services. We understand the importance of precision in a project like this as the smallest misalignment could be catastrophic. Fortunately we are used to working to such fine tolerances due to the other industries that we work with.’