Working from an aircraft hangar in Bristol, the research team's engineers have been working on the project in secret for the past 18 months. Calculations suggest the car could reach 1,050mph, fast enough to outrun a bullet from a .357 Magnum revolver. The car was proposed by Lord Drayson, science minister in the British government, as a project to inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers, who are in desperately short supply in UK. The Bloodhound team plans to have the car built within a year, with the record attempt expected in three years.
The project brings together mathematician and fighter pilot Andy Green, who set the current land speed record of 763mph with Thrust SSC in 1997, and Richard Noble, who directed that attempt. The car will be the first to meld a jet engine for a Eurofighter Typhoon with a rocket booster. Together, they will produce 20,000kg (45,000lb) of thrust.
"It's an opportunity to do something extraordinary in engineering terms and to be part of the very best land speed record attempt in the world," said Green. Green, an RAF wing commander, will use an accelerator to power the jet engine up to speeds of around 350 mph and then fire the solid rocket booster.
At that point, a V-12 racing car engine will start pumping more than a tonne of hydrogen peroxide into the booster, forcing the car to 1,000mph in 20 seconds.
"It's going to be quite uncomfortable. Where I sit will be just under the intake of the jet engine, so it's going to be acoustically quite challenging," he said.
Slowing down will also be a significant challenge. The car will use airbrakes and two parachutes to bring it to a rest after each run.
John Piper, the lead engineer on the project, said that the team would build a full-size mock-up of the vehicle over the next month.
Team members are now visiting sites where the record attempt will be made.
In the next week or two, Green will visit a site in South Africa. Other possible venues are the salt flats of the US and Australia.