Building a 1,000 mph car

The Bloodhound SSC (which stands for SuperSonic Car) aims to break the speed record for land (and air), reaching speeds in excess of 1000 mph. The current record is 763.035mph, just above the sound barrier, set in 1997. The attempt is slated for later this year.

What constitutes a legitimate speed record is not simple and requires that many tough conditions be met, including what constitutes a land vehicle, which is defined as a:

Vehicle propelled by its own means in constant contact with the ground (or ice), either directly by mechanical means or indirectly by ground effect, and the motive power and steering system of which are constantly and entirely controlled by a driver on board the vehicle.

To minimize the effect of tail winds, the testing conditions require two runs in opposite directions over a measured distance within the space of one hour. The rapid accelerations and decelerations involved will cause the driver to experience forces of 2.5g and 3g respectively, which means the driver will have to train hard to avoid blackouts.

The BBC has provided an interview with the chief engineer on this project who describes the technology of the car.


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    So, the latitude at which an automobile can make the sun stand still will have finally reached 0 degrees, after a modest start of 89.7 degrees in 1886!

    And in other speed/power improvements, the souping up of the LHC has been completed, with experiments probably starting in May. Up from 8 TeV to 13 TeV!

  2. Mano Singham says

    The BBC link makes the claim about airspeed record. The military jets that go much faster achieve those speeds at very high altitudes, on the edge of space, where the air is thin and air resistance is very low and what is meant by ‘airspeed’ is not clear. At lower altitudes where air resistance is considerable, apparently no plane has reached such speeds.

  3. Crimson Clupeidae says

    There are multiple modern jets quite capable of exceeding that limit, I suspect. Finding a pilot willing to do so is another story. If something goes wrong, even at just a few thousand feet, at near supersonic speeds, it would be potentially disastrous.

  4. hyphenman says


    I have witnessed F-14 Tomcats flying faster than the speed of sound, as evidenced by the silent approach and sonic boom after they passed, close enough to the surface of the ocean that I could clearly see the pilot and RIO as they buzzed the ship I was on (USS Bainbridge, CGN-25).

    Have Coffee Will Write

  5. Mano Singham says


    But how much faster than the speed of sound would they have been traveling? I think the article claims that they were not greater than 1,000 mph.

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