‘F1 is Just Slow Cars Circling on Tracks’

... says British fighter pilot and World Land Speed record holder Andy Green, who was here to talk about Bloodhound, a supersonic car aiming to set a new world land speed record of 1,000 mph

Published: 18th November 2014 06:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th November 2014 06:08 AM   |  A+A-


CHENNAI: When you’re invited to chat up someone who’s billed as the ‘fastest man on earth’, it’s inevitable that you’ll think of a whole bunch of ‘fast and furious’ race puns.

After meeting British fighter pilot Wing Commander Andy Green, one thing is for certain, you needn’t have bothered. For a man who’s gearing up to get into a mean-looking car, with a rocket strapped to it to try and get the speedometer to read 1,600 kmph, he  certainly is jocular.

He was at the British Deputy High Commission recently to talk about project Bloodhound, a supersonic car aiming to set a new world land speed record of 1,000 mph. 

“We’re not like F1. Formula 1 is just slow cars going round and round, taking themselves way too seriously,” said the World Land Speed record holder to raucous laughter.

“What I’m going to be doing is sitting in this car that can go at 180 times what a race car can do, and hope that it stops in time.”

Green set the Land Speed record in 1997 when his car Thrust SSC managed to break the sound barrier by clocking 1149 kmph. All these years later, he’s back with a technologically superior, super-fast version called the Bloodhound SSC.

“That was 17 years ago. This is the longest standing record in history. It also says that all these years later, I should know better. Unfortunately I don’t. And I am trying to push the speeds again — so we’re trying to reach mach 1.4 which is 1600 kmph. It is the limit, really.

The eurofighter engine is the best in the world. But a 1,000 mph is faster than any jetfighter has done ever. We’re going back to a time when cars were faster than planes, which is why we’re using rocket technology from Norway.”

Next year, when Green and Co head out to South Africa to try and break their own record, there will be quite a bit of desi flavour under their hood, “Jaguar is one of our sponsors and obviously it’s a company that is controlled by Tata.

The rear chassis, mostly metallic, all supplied by Tata steel. So it’s Indian DNA keeping me safe. The racecar engine just to make the rocket pump work is from Jaguar. They’re also helping with the sound proofing, and integrating the gearbox,” he said.


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