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Driving a supersonic race car is not as exciting as people may think

Published 24/09/2015

The product of eight years of research, design and manufacturing, involving over 350 companies and universities, the car is the centre-piece of a free exhibition, booked out within days of being announced, with 8000 people coming to see the Land Speed Racer. (Nick Ansell/PA Wire)
The product of eight years of research, design and manufacturing, involving over 350 companies and universities, the car is the centre-piece of a free exhibition, booked out within days of being announced, with 8000 people coming to see the Land Speed Racer. (Nick Ansell/PA Wire)
A view of the Bloodhound SSC (supersonic car). (Nick Ansell/PA Wire)
Project director Richard Noble stands with the Bloodhound SSC (supersonic car). (Nick Ansell/PA Wire)

There is no thrill in driving the world's most powerful racing car, the man who designed it has said.

Project director Richard Noble who led the team that designed the Bloodhound, the 1,000mph supersonic racer, said that driving the race car is not the exhilarating rush people might expect.

"Driving a car like that is effectively an everyday experience," he said.

"It's all about complete and utter accuracy and complete focus, and if you are getting some sort of buzz or excitement out of it then you are the wrong man.

"It's a very cold-blooded operation."

More than 8,000 people are expected to see the 1,000mph supersonic racer which is on display until Saturday at Canary Wharf, London.

It is hoped that the £10 million UK-built car will shatter the world land speed record, which currently stands at 763mph, when it is tested at full speed.

The Bloodhound will undergo 200mph trials next year at Newquay Aerohub in Cornwall before embarking on a series of high-speed runs in a desert venue in South Africa. At full speed the car will cover a mile in just 3.6 seconds.

Andy Green, now 52, is the current record holder having achieved the feat in Thrust SSC at Black Rock Desert in Nevada in 1997, and will be driving the bloodhound.

Mr Noble, also the driver of Thrust 2 which broke the land speed record in 1983, said: "Way back in 1997 we broke the sound barrier with Thrust SSC car driven by Andy Green. A terrific achievement and as far as the team were concerned we were absolutely exhausted - we all swore we would never ever do this again.

Project director Richard Noble stands with the Bloodhound SSC (supersonic car), on display at Canary Wharf, London. (Nick Ansell/PA Wire)
Project director Richard Noble stands with the Bloodhound SSC (supersonic car), on display at Canary Wharf, London. (Nick Ansell/PA Wire)

"Of course here we are."

Of designing the latest car he said: "Most of the team worked six or seven days a week, 17 hour days were quite common - it was just a huge sweat.

"The public love it - 29,000 people have put their names on the tail of the car. There's huge public following and huge public interest."

The supersonic car, which has been assembled at Avonmouth, near Bristol, is the result of eight years of research, design and manufacturing involving more than 350 companies and universities.

It has three power plants - a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet from a Eurofighter Typhoon, a cluster of Nammo hybrid rockets and a Jaguar V8 engine that drives the rocket oxidiser pump.

Between them they generate 135,000 thrust horsepower, equivalent to 180 F1 cars. The pencil-shaped car will be 44ft (13.4m) long, 6ft (183cm) in diameter and weigh 7.5 tonnes.

Members of the public can see the Bloodhound with its two metre high tail fin - required for stability at high speed - in place for the first time.

Engineers have partially removed the carbon fibre panels from one side of the vehicle in order to show off the technology inside.

Visitors are also able to look inside the finished cockpit - a huge and complex monocoque crafted from multiple layers of carbon fibre - and see the sophisticated digital dashboard.

The team are hoping to race in 2016, before which they will do runway tests at Newquay Aerohub next Easter.

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