Race crew in faster-than-a-bullet bid

2012-10-18 17:10
The Bloodhound supersonic car will attempt a land speed record in 2013. (Bloodhound)

The Bloodhound supersonic car will attempt a land speed record in 2013. (Bloodhound)

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Sydney - An Australian race crew hoping to beat their British rivals to a new supersonic land-speed record launched their bid on Thursday, unveiling the first parts of their rocket-powered bullet car.

Daredevil drag-racer Rosco McGlashan has dreamed of being the fastest man on wheels since, aged 12, he saw Britain's Donald Campbell break 645km/h on Australia's Lake Eyre salt pan in 1964.

The mark has been smashed several times since and currently stands at a blistering 1 228km/h - faster than the speed of sound - set by another Briton, Andy Green, back in 1997.

McGlashan believes he can go quicker still - 1 600km/h - using rocket technology to propel his 200 000-horsepower super-car Aussie Invader 5R, set to blast off in 2014, 50 years after he first eyed Campbell's mark.

If successful, McGlashan will travel faster than a bullet.

Missile rocket

"I've served the world's longest apprenticeship, I've done an apprenticeship in speed, I've had all sorts of vehicles, V8 motorcycles, rocket-powered go-karts, all sorts of stuff," said McGlashan, 62.

"But it's all been a culmination to where we're at now, where we've nearly built, nearly completed the world's best, fastest land-speed car."

Breaking the speed record is not all McGlashan has to contend with - Britain's Green is also gunning for the 1 600km/h record with his hybrid Bloodhound SSC.

"They've got a lot of support from their country, and [it's] a country that believes that the land-speed record belongs to them, it's part of their patriotism, the land-speed record's been in the UK for 1 000 years," McGlashan said.

"But we've got a lot more powerful car, a lot tighter-knit group of guys and we believe that we can go out and blitz them."

The 16m Invader 5R will be powered by a missile rocket fuelled with liquid oxygen and a kerosene-based biofuel. It will travel at a constant 3Gs, or three times the force of gravity and faster than the speed of sound.

McGlashan hopes to begin test runs of his streamlined, bullet-shaped car, which will weigh nine tons when fully fuelled, in 2013 for a record attempt in 2014.

The British team is on track for an attempt in the same year.

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