Fastest Cars: 1000 mph Bloodhound SSC and 763 mph Thrust SSC
Contrary to belief, the fastest cars are not those that money can buy but those that test human limits. There are only two which fall into that category and they are – Thrust SSC and Bloodhound SSC.
What I mean is that we may think that the Koenigsegg, Bugatti or Hennessey is the fastest car out there and we may be right if we are looking at just the commercially built production cars, but when it comes to the really fast ones, it is the other two which I already mentioned. But why two? Obviously, it should be just one, right?
Reason for two is that one is the current speed record holder and the second is vying to beat the current record holder. So, who’s who?
Thrust SSC is the car which went fastest in 1997 and broke the sound barrier at 763 mph. Bloodhound SSC, on the other hand, is the car which is expected to break the record of the Thrust SSC. It is expected to make the top speed run of 1000 mph by the end of the calendar year 2019. Also, this jump in speed of nearly 30% is the most by any new record attempting car over the record holder. Take a look at the car speed record holders over the years.
Personally, I like the looks of the Thrust more than the Bloodhound but then it will be the latter which will be the faster one. And, of course, looks are subjective.
Let’s first look at our current record holder – the Thrust SSC.
1. Thrust Super Sonic Car (SSC)
At the moment, the Thrust SSC is the only supersonic car in the world. There is simply no other land vehicle built which is faster than the Thrust.
It is a non-conventional, jet-powered car which can race with sound and actually end up on the winning side. When we compare with our known champions, the Bugattis, Koenigseggs, and Hennesseys, it is a one-sided affair. Our champions even at a maxed out state would be nothing but rickshaws on square wheels. So, let’s look at the car which smokes them all.
The Thrust SSC doing its Speed Run
The Thrust SSC is a rocket car which broke the Sound barrier in 1997. Such was the power behind the wheels that it was driven not by a driver but a pilot. Squadron Leader Andy Green, the driver, was a Royal Air Force fighter pilot. Here are the other interesting details:
- Top Speed: 763 mph (1228.43 km/hr)
- Engine: After burning. Rolls - Royce turbo fan engine
- Car dimensions: Length – 54 ft (approx); Breadth – 12 ft.
- Thrust (Power): 223 kN
- Fuel Consumption: 55 litres for every km, at the top speed
- Acceleration: Very Fast
- Price : It comes free with any Desert you purchase
SSC breaking the Sound Barrier (Can hear the sonic boom at 1:06)
The Thrust SSC was a British car, built by Richard Noble, Glynne Bowsher, Ron Ayers and Jeremy Bliss. It became the first car to break the sound barrier, although there was one other rocket car, the Budweiser Rocket, before it which had claimed to have had achieved that feat. The claim though was unsubstantiated and therefore the Thrust SSC remains the first to break the sound barrier and the fastest car even today!
On the fastest even today part, well, the next car on the list has something to say.
2. Bloodhound Super Sonic Car (SSC)
Here comes the challenger. This will be only the second supersonic car in the world and faster than the Thrust. The Bloodhound was in the discussion for a long time, in fact, as early as the turn of the century but the project and fund delays made it extend right up to 2018. There seems to be less doubt now, considering it has already done a 210 mph trial run and will be doing another 500 mph run in Africa soon.
As per schedule, the Bloodhound will be doing the 1000 mph run by the end of 2019. I just hope it is a lot earlier!
Now, many would know that it is easier to move faster at a higher altitude than lower. Which means, the higher you go, the rarer the air becomes and hence lesser the air-resistance. The reverse is also true. The closer you are to sea level, the denser the air and hence higher the air resistance. At such resistance, it is incredible to do a supersonic speed run. In fact, at the top speed, the Bloodhound will have 20 tonnes of drag. That is equivalent to the Bloodhound pulling three and a half elephants while doing 1000 mph.
Here are some vital stats:
- Top Speed: 1000 mph (1610 km/hr) [Expected]
- Engine: EJ200 Jet Engine [90kN] + Hybrid Rocket Engine [122 kN] + Auxiliary Power Unit [800 bhp]
- Car dimensions: Length – 42 ft. | Breadth – 8.2 ft.
- Thrust (Power): 212 kN
- Fuel Consumption: 1.5 tons of fuel over the course of 0 – 1000 mph in 55 seconds
- Acceleration: Very Very Fast
- Price: It comes free with a Thrust SSC. How much is the Thrust? See under Thrust.
By the way, an interesting observation is that the Auxiliary Power Unit’s 800 bhp alone is more than the Bentley Bentayga’s total power output of 600 hp. Now, you can imagine the total power of the Bloodhound.
Animated Representation of Bloodhound Dynamics
Much like the Thrust, the Bloodhound will also be piloted by Andy Green.
The Bloodhound is an engineering marvel and it is supposed to be not only the fastest but the biggest engineering educational program to understand what has gone into building the biggest bullet in the world, which, by the way, can outrun a bullet!
3. Turbinator | Don Vesco
In a list dominated by supersonic cars, the Turbinator is the only sub-sonic one. Why is it here? Because this is the fastest wheel-driven car in the world. It’s not the car as much as the driver who is of interest here. The car was driven by Don Vesco to a speed of 458 mph and thereby, created a record which stands to date. But who is Don Vesco?
To start with, he is the only person to have received the Hot Rod Magazine’s prestigious Top Time Trophy for both cars and bikes. By creating records in two different vehicle categories, Don shares the space with legends like Donald Campbell, who in 1964 held the water-speed and land-speed record. Here is a photo of Don with the Turbinator.
Talking about bikes, much like Andy Green being the first to break the sound barrier, Don Vesco is credited with being the first to break 250 mph, 400 kmph, 300 mph, 500 kmph and one of the biggest jump in speed record as compared to the previous record holder on a streamlined bike. His passion for speed continued into the four-wheeler space too and culminated in the form of the Turbinator. The Turbinator speed run was carried out in October 2001.
Here are the stats:
- Speed Record thru a two-way run: 458.44 mph (738.1 kmph)
- Top Speed: 470 mph (756 km/hr)
- Driver: Don Vesco
The 470 mph speed run
Don passed away in 2002, roughly a year after his record run in the Turbinator. He was 63 and will always remain a legend that he was!
Which car did you like the most?
Image Courtesy: Pixabay. All other relevant sources are mentioned with the pictures themselves.
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© 2013 Savio Koman