The Bloodhound Supersonic Car has started its first public runs, reaching speeds of 338kmh.
Having completed two trial runs on a 2.7km long runway in England, the record-seeking Bloodhound Supersonic Car pulled a crowd of more than 3000 people.
The jet-powered car successfully reached its goal of 322km/h from a standstill position in just over 8 seconds, and went on to reach a top speed of 340kmh.
This was a breeze for the driver, Royal Air Force Wing Commander Andy Green, who holds the current world land speed record of 1227kmh, which was set in October 1997.
“We did two back-to-back 200mph runs in a five-tonne car. It felt like about eight seconds, which was what we were expecting,” Green told BBC News.
“It was a real hard work-out for the brakes. Probably up to somewhere close to a thousand degrees, the front brakes were smoking furiously after the second run. They just started to flicker with flame – very sort of Formula One, but in a proper high-speed car. And that was exactly what we were hoping for,” he added.
These high-speed runs are only a public shakedown, as the Bloodhound SSC hunts for a new land speed record in the next few years.
However, the Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine currently powering the car will only be able to reach a top speed 1050kmh – nearly 600kmh less than the target.
To achieve this goal, the team plans on upgrading the jet-powered engine with a hybrid rocket propulsion system built by Norwegian aerospace and defence company, Nammo.
Technical director of Bloodhound, Mark Chapman says: “the total thrust we think we need is about 20 tonnes. So that’s a thrust-to-weight ratio of about two-and-a-half. The car when we’re breaking records will weigh about eight tonnes.”
Other changes to the car may include replacing its Jaguar V8 powered fuel pump with an electric system that can distribute its weight more evenly.
Nammo’s technology, which will only be available by 2020, will take the car to a top speed of around 1610km/h and break the sound barrier with ease.
If all goes according to plan, Green will pilot the car and add his name in the record book for a third time.
The 2020 record attempt willneed an even longer stretch, and is likely to take place in the 19km wide Hakskeen Pan dry lake bed in South Africa.