WATCH | Bloodhound races to 790km/h in Northern Cape
About 11,000m above the Hakskeen Pan in the Northern Cape, passenger planes cruise past at 800km/h.
On Thursday, a car achieved the same speed on the dusty surface of the dry lake bed wedged between Botswana and Namibia.
In its fastest test-run yet, Bloodhound, which aims to break the sound barrier and the land speed record of 1,228km/h next year, reached 790km/h, propelled by a jet engine.
A rocket will be added to the car for the record attempt, which means one of the engineering team’s biggest challenges is ensuring the vehicle can withstand the extraordinary forces created by the speed.
What I like about @Bloodhound_LSR is that every day for the last 12 years I’ve been presented with a new problem to solve... what I love about @Bloodhound_LSR is I can share it.. #Engineering (this steel was folded by airflow from the front wheels at 800kmh) #2019HST pic.twitter.com/GIGOPd0VpG— Mark Chapman (@MChapman1050) November 5, 2019
A second run on Tuesday and more tests on Wednesday had to be called off after panelling that protects the rear suspension was peeled back.
Driver Andy Green said the 790km/h run was not only the fastest Bloodhound had gone, but the most useful in terms of planning for the record attempt.
“The principal aim of today was to measure the slowdown, from 500 down to 200, to measure the aerodynamic drag. We’ve got all that data; it's now back to crunch the numbers,” he told the BBC.
The tests are being run on a 19km track that was cleared of 16,000 tons of pebbles by residents of the remote area.