Bloodhound SSC: A British Engineering Marvel


Published  June 2018

Can a car possibly travel faster than a speeding bullet? That’s the aim of the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car (SSC), a British-developed high-tech vehicle, which is part jet fighter, part Formula 1 racing car and part space rocket. To showcase this British engineering phenomenon, the University is delighted to partner with the Bloodhound Project on a number of exciting initiatives this year, including a Public Lecture in the autumn by Project Director Richard Noble OBE, to stimulate engagement with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

One of the most complex cars ever built, the Bloodhound SSC employs a combination of rocket and Eurofighter Typhoon jet engine, and is the world’s most powerful land vehicle, designed to travel at 1,000 mph and faster than a bullet fired from a Magnum 357.

Made of titanium and carbon fibre with aluminium wheels, the car measures 13.4m long and is 3m high. The design is a mix of car and aviation technology with the front designed like a racing car and the rear resembling an aircraft. It weighs around 7.5 tonnes.

The ultimate goal of the Bloodhound project is to break the world land speed record and travel more than 1,000 mph, covering a mile in just 3.6 seconds. Behind the wheel will be Andy Green, the current land speed record holder and a former RAF fighter jet pilot, who aims to beat the 763 mph he set in ThrustSSC over two decades ago.

In advance of this record-breaking attempt, the UK-based Bloodhound team will head to the Hakskeen Pan Desert in South Africa next year to test run the vehicle at 500 mph and gain valuable insight into the car’s high-speed aerodynamic performance and handling. It represents a key milestone on the journey to setting a new world land speed record.

The Bloodhound project was launched in 2008 with the aim of inspiring and exciting the next generation of scientists and engineers, and igniting children’s interest in STEM subjects. To coincide with the Government’s Year of Engineering and the University’s exciting plans for curriculum expansion in science, engineering and technology, Christ Church has partnered with the Bloodhound Project to deliver innovative education and engagement activities at two residential summer schools on the Canterbury Campus in July.

The summer schools are a unique academic and social experience designed to give young people a taster of University life. They are funded by the Kent and Medway Collaborative Outreach Programme (KaMCOP), a group of higher education institutions (including Christ Church) and further education colleges who are working together to deliver targeted outreach across the region.

The consortium's work focuses on areas within Kent and Medway where higher education participation is lower than might be expected given the GCSE results of the young people who live there. The key aim is to rapidly increase the number of young people from underrepresented groups who go into higher education. The hands-on summer school activities delivered by the Bloodhound team are therefore specifically designed to encourage the students to develop their interest in science, technology and engineering, and consider higher education as a career progression route into these areas.


Richard Noble OBE, Director of the Bloodhound Project

During the summer school programmes, the pupils will learn about the underlying engineering principles behind Bloodhound, including the drag, thrust, aerodynamics and friction of this supersonic car before going on to design, build and race their own model rocket cars with the expertise and assistance of the Bloodhound team. They will also enjoy an interactive tour of the modular Bloodhound SSC, enabling them to learn more about the project and its many unique components.

The summer school activities will be followed by an inspiring Public Lecture at the University in September by engineering entrepreneur, land speed record breaker and Director of the Bloodhound Project, Richard Noble OBE. In addition to staff, students, local schoolchildren and the general public, participants of the summer schools will be invited to return to Christ Church to attend the event, along with their fellow classmates, teachers and parents/carers, to hear Richard speak. During his lecture, Richard will provide a unique insight into the engineering and design challenges of developing the world’s fastest car. He will also be accompanied by a full-size replica of the Bloodhound SSC so that attendees can enjoy an up-close experience of this engineering marvel.

Find out more about Bloodhound SSC, including the latest developments in the project, here.

Book your place at the Public Lecture by Richard Noble here.


Last edited: 25/02/2020 10:38:00