Bloodhound SSC: the big reveal

It’s a few weeks now since Bloodhound SSC was unveiled to a global audience at East Wintergarden in London’s Canary Wharf. Conor La Grue gives us the low-down.

The media response on September 24 was truly stunning! It kicked off on BBC Breakfast TV and culminated in the record attempt date being announced live on the 6 O’Clock News – which in live news PR terms is the top of Everest!

Conor La Grue, head of commercial, procurement and supplier sponsorship, Bloodhound SSC project
Conor La Grue, engineering lead, Bloodhound SSC project.

As if that wasn’t enough, in the afternoon I spent an hour in a studio at BBC Broadcasting House in London doing all the regional BBC Radio ‘drive time’ shows, which was great as it gave me the opportunity to thank partner companies in each region in a very public way.

Sharing the adventure

The Thursday evening event was also incredible, with partners, sponsors and prospective sponsors in the room.

It was amazing to see Bloodhound SSC in such a beautiful setting, properly lit up and displayed.

It really did show off the stunning engineering and manufacturing to best effect, and I couldn’t have been more proud of what we have all achieved together.

The free Bloodhound Expo then opened to the public on Friday and Saturday. Over the two days we had 10,000 visitors come through the door to see the Car.

How do you move a priceless Car?

The whole team worked truly colossal numbers of hours to deliver the Expo and then stayed late on Saturday to get the Car safely packed away (not least because we only had use of the venue until midnight).

Our haulage partner Arthur Spriggs & Sons did an amazing job of juggling trailers and tractor units to get everything packed away.

(The Car trailer that they have provided is just stunning and Bloodhound looks very at home on its new transport.)

It’s not the first time the team have worked late into the night and I know it won’t be the last, but it was great to see everyone working together and really fired up, having shown off Bloodhound to the world.

The countdown starts….

Now the focus is on fundraising to get the cash we need to go and break records.

Some of the 10,000 visitors queuing to see the Car for the first time at East Wintergarden in September.
Some of the 10,000 visitors queuing to see the Car for the first time at East Wintergarden in September.

We also need to ‘tear down’ the Car and build it up properly for running on the UK runway, complete the rocket firing programme and prepare for operational running late next summer.

All of this will culminate in a record attempt on the morning of 15 October 2016 – which coincidentally will be the 19th anniversary of Andy Green setting the current world land speed record in Thrust SSC.

The components required for the rocket programme are now arriving and, with the third version of the pump now underway, we believe we have solved the challenges we have seen to date.

We’re looking forward to quickly validating the new design and getting straight into water testing.

After that we gear up for rocket firings powered by the Jaguar supercharged V8 engine early in the spring.

It’s now a countdown to a new land speed record and it’s going to be very busy, but we are all up for the challenge!