JAN 26th 2015

Video: How to drive with 110,000bhp at the speed of sound ...

As excitement gradually builds for Richard Noble’s latest Bloodhound SSC project, we’re taking a look back here at 1997 and the team’s successful capturing of the Land Speed Record.

There are a number of videos available which show the results of Trust SSC’s exploits on the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. There’s even a full documentary available called ‘The Mission: Supersonic Dreams’ which shows the complete story from Thrust 2, right up to Thrust SSC entering into retirement having eclipsed all of its objectives.


However, there is some footage taken from a camera mounted on the tailplane of Thrust SSC which we think manages to convey not just the massive speed, but also the challenging environment in which Mr Green has to remain 100% calm and relay information over the radio. Only one man knows what it’s like to drive this fast …

Luckily for us, we managed to speak to one of the Boultbee Academy pilots here at the circuit who has some jet experience, and who could decipher some of the things Andy Green can be heard saying over the radio. At 47 seconds he says ‘looking for mil’, which means ‘Military Power’ or full ‘dry’ power (no afterburner).  Shortly after he says ‘150, looking for min burn’ which is his indicated speed and that minimum burn has been achieved by the jet motors, although he then adds ‘…slightly wriggly….’, which apparently indicates that the power didn’t come in evenly, causing the car to pull slightly to one side.

After this, the call is ‘looking for max’ at which point the nozzles (which had been declared ‘30%’ closed earlier in the clip) open fully and the early signs of a white/orange glow can be seen inside the motors. Our driver (pilot?) can then be heard to say ‘…seven fifteen coming up’, which our man at Boultbee was unfamiliar with, but which did indicate that the afterburner is about to be fully lit. And fully lit it then is …

At this point things get a little busy. Wing Commander Green can then be heard calling out the indicated speed in miles per hour, up to the point where the car enters the measured mile – which it is in for a matter of seconds only – and then chatting away as he opens the parachute and begins looking for the recovery crew.

Look out for the astonishing footage at around 1:15 when it is announced that the car ‘is starting to yaw’ which sees our hero correcting the car’s line… right before it hits 600mph as the noise of the wind around the car begins to sound like a blood-curdling banshee wail!

The footage is 18 years old now, so razor-sharp it sadly isn’t. But that’s not important because this is epic viewing for any speed freak.

If the Bloodhound SSC team can conjure half of the magic that surrounded Thrust SSC then we’ll be in for a treat. Imagine this kind of footage, but showing 1000mph!

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