It makes 550 horsepower and pumps 9 gallons every second.
Who wouldn’t want a supercharged Jaguar V8 under the hood, sending 550 horsepower to the wheels? That would be the person who needs such power just to make his freaking fuel pump work. Friends, if ever there was a statement to encapsulate just how awesome it is right now to be a fan of epic automotive performance, this is it.
Of course, this begs the real question: What kind of car needs a 550-horsepower fuel pump? That would be the Bloodhound SSC, which will use an EJ200 turbofan jet engine borrowed from the Eurofighter Typhoon as its primary power source in a world-record speed attempt later this year. The Jag V8 doesn’t feed the jet, however; it drives an oxidizer pump that will send 211.3 gallons of high-test peroxide to the car’s second engine – a custom-designed hybrid rocket – emptying the tank in about 20 seconds. For those too shell-shocked to do the math, that works out to about 9 gallons per second.
This is all for the pursuit of a new land-speed record, but it’s more than just that. The current record is a supersonic 763.035 miles per hour, set in October 1997 by the same team working now to break it. Much attention has been given to the Bloodhound SSC effort since this new endeavor was launched in 2008, because the target speed is an even 1,000 miles per hour. That wouldn’t just be a new land-speed record by far – it would also be a new low-altitude speed record for aircraft. So yeah, such things aren’t accomplished without all kinds of research, aerodynamic wizardry, and lots of power.
It also takes lots of money, which ran dry after the Bloodhound SSC’s official debut back in 2015. For a while it seemed the speed run might be lost to funding, but a fresh infusion of cash from Chinese automaker Geely last September put the team on-track for an October 2017 attempt – 20 years after setting the current record. That effort will only target 800 mph, which would still be a new record but obviously falls short of the ultimate goal. Presuming the pass is solid with no glaring issues or catastrophic failures, the Bloodhound SSC team will go for a 1,000-mph run at a later date.
Should that attempt eventually take place, the car will accelerate from a dead stop to 1,000 mph in 55 seconds. The custom-fabricated aluminium wheels will spin at 10,000 rpm as the car covers 450 yards a second – faster than a bullet fired from most handguns. Yeah . . . there’s never been a better time to be a horsepower junkie.