The Bloodhound LRS has finally rolled across African soil for the first time on Friday when it ran the first of 12 ‘shakedown’ tests. While the car hasn’t broken any records yet, simply making it to the race track marks a significant milestone for the race team. They were previously saved from administration last year by British billionaire Ian Warhurst.
The long-awaited shakedown tests took place on a specially prepared 20 km dried out lake bed near the Namibian border, however, the low-speed test was initially delayed. The team faced difficulties starting the car after it made the long journey from the UK to Johannesburg, before being transported by truck to the race track. Thankfully, the problem was traced back to a faulty fuel pump, which the team was able to fix.
The first outing for the Bloodhound LSR consisted of three different runs, all serving a specific purpose. The first run started with an engine test, the second run saw the team test steering and breaks at a speed of 160km/h. Finally, the car was accelerated to 321km/h before being left to “coast down” so the team could observe the rolling resistance of the Bloodhound LRS.
She’s got legs! https://t.co/XTFM6Lchwb
— chris harris (@harrismonkey) October 28, 2019
Over 300 local Meir community members worked tirelessly to remove around 16,500 tonnes of loose stones from the track. Along with removing debris, local community members laid out a total of 13 parallel tracks. This is because the cars aluminum wheels digs into the ground after every run, which then renders that part of the tack unusable for another run.
The man piloting the Bloodhound LRS for the first test run was Andy Green, a former fighter pilot who set the current land speed record of 1,227 km back in 1997.
“It is the biggest single human effort to actually prepare a racetrack,” Green told the Sunday Times. “It is an achievement of biblical proportions.”
The Bloodhound LSR race team are working towards two ultimate goals. Firstly, they intend on breaking the current world speed record, which stands at 1,229 km/h. From there, they will set their sights on breaking the 1,609 km/h mark, which would be a first for any land going vehicle. If all goes as planned, the team are then going to attempt the land speed record by late 2020.