Further benefits will include “creating a massive tourism awareness and investment destination”.
ALTHOUGH no specific date has been given yet, the Bloodhound Land Speed Record (BLSR) team announced this week that they would be in the Northern Cape in October for its first high-speed test runs in South Africa.
Bloodhound LSR CEO Ian Warhurst said: “I’m thrilled that we can announce Bloodhound’s first trip to South Africa for these high-speed testing runs. This world land speed record campaign is unlike any other, with the opportunities opened up by digital technology that enabled the team to test the car’s design using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and that will allow us to gather and share data about the car’s performance in real time.
“In addition, we’re running the car on a brand new surface. The wheels have been designed specifically for this desert lake bed (Hak-skeen Pan), but it will still be vital to test them at high speeds before making record speed runs.”
Meanwhile, the Northern Cape Department of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism said yesterday that it had received confirmation from the BLSR mother company, Grafton, that all project funding has been secured to commit to the 2019 testing at Hakskeen Pan.
“As the department, we will make the pan available for the testing runs. We will also provide disaster management support, destination preparation and destination promotion, including putting the Kalahari Red Dune tourist route and Khomani San Cultural Work Heritage Site in the market spotlight,” the department spokesperson, Ali Diteme, said.
He added that further benefits will include “creating a massive tourism awareness and investment destination”.
“Community benefits are employment opportunities for the local community, skill development and small business development support. We are also assisting Dawid Kriuper Municipality to develop Hakskeen Pan as an open-air mega facility to accommodate various events and festivals by providing water supply and improving bulk infrastructure in Rietfontein.”
Diteme further stated that the latter will assist local economic development in Mier as the local facility is currently operating at full capacity.
According to the BLSR website, the planned October testing in the Northern Cape follows the successful 200mph (320km/* ) UK runway trials at Cornwall Airport Newquay in October 2017. The team will be targeting 500mph (800km/* ) – a key milestone on the journey to setting a new world land speed record. The record runs are currently scheduled for late 2020.
Since the project’s relaunch in March 2019, the team has been focussing on both the logistics of deploying the team and car to the Kalahari Desert and converting the car from its runway design to high-speed testing spec. This has included uprating springs and dampers, and adding the parachute braking system, more air pressure and load sensors, and a fire detection and suppression system.
According to the website, the Bloodhound LSR team’s attempt on the world land speed record is the first in the digital era. Data from hundreds of sensors on the car will be shared in real time to allow budding engineers to see exactly how the car is behaving as it dices with physics.
“The trials in the Northern Cape will enable the team to test this data distribution, as well as the live video stream, at high speeds in preparation for the land speed record runs.”
It will also be a full dress rehearsal for the record-breaking campaign, with the team using the time to develop its operational procedures, perfect its practices for desert working and test radio communications.
Project Bloodhound was founded in 2007 and aims to hit speeds of 1 000mph at a specially built, 18km long, 1 500m wide race track at Hakskeen Pan.