Bloodhound, the story of a great British engineering adventure

Members of the Probus Club of Sarum Club were treated to a fascinating talk by their fellow member Alan Frener recently about an exciting British engineering adventure – Bloodhound,  the world’s most advanced straight line racing car, on a hunt for the World Land Speed Record.

The first land speed record dates back to 1898 , when Frenchman, Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat, piloted an electric vehicle called Jeantaud Duc to 39 mph.

From the 1920s onward, the record was held by a long line of British record holders, culminating in Andy Green’s 1997 record of 763 mph with Thrust SSC, which used two RR Spey engines.

In the early 2000s rumours started of American and Australian preparations to attempt to better this record. This led to the formation of Project Bloodhound.

In October 2008, Lord Drayson announced the project at the Science Museum. The project was conceived as a leading edge technology project to inspire and to educate. It brought together illustrious names of British academia and industry, eventually including Swansea University, University of West of England, Rolls Royce and many others.

Bloodhound led, among other achievements, to advances in rocket engine construction. Its website, exhibitions and educational events reached more than two million school pupils exposing them to greater depth of STEM subjects.

Alan’s enthusiastic talk provided members with a unique insight because he had been one of the key participants of the project team over the years, filling the role of senior ambassador.

On 17th November 2019, Bloodhound achieved its target of 600 mph, including 0 to 628 mph in 50 seconds in the South African desert. However, funds ran out and the final record push has had to be postponed indefinitely.

The club meets every second and fourth Friday of the month at the White Hart Hotel. Members are retirees who value intellectual stimulation as well as a sociable atmosphere. Guests and new members are always welcome.

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