East Anglia: Regional firms back BloodHound SSC world land speed record attempt

An artists impression of the Bloodhound SSC in the desert where the team plan to make an attempt on the World Land Speed Record in 2016.
Photo: Siemens NX An artists impression of the Bloodhound SSC in the desert where the team plan to make an attempt on the World Land Speed Record in 2016. Photo: Siemens NX

Tuesday, May 6, 2014
6:00 AM

Essex motorsport specialist DC Electronics is to play a key role in a project which aims to set a new world land speed record, and to break the 1,000mph barrier in the process.

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The Maldon-based company, which supplies custom-built electrical systems for vehicles involved in events including Formula 1, NASCAR, Le Mans and Global Rally Cross, is to provide the loom assembly and electronic power assisted steering for the UK-based BloodHound SSC team.

BloodHound is led by Richard Noble, who held the land speed record between 1983 and 1997, with current record holder Andy Green lined up as driver.

Thrust2, the car driven by Noble to the record, was timed at 633.468 mph while Thrust SSC, the supersonic car driven by Green − and for which Mr Noble was project director − set a new mark of 763.035mph.

David Cunliffe, founder and managing director of DC Electronics, said the company was approached by the BloodHound team at the annual Autosport International exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham six years ago. “They were there shopping around for suppliers,” he said. “Electronics was on their list and they asked us if we would like to be involved.”

DC Electronics is donting its services on a sponsorship basis, the payback being the marketing opportunities which involvement in the project is expected to provide for years to come.

“We have already started supplying some components for data network wiring,” said Mr Cunliffe. “We will then measure up for the rest of system wiring in about four months’ time.”

The current intention is for the BloodHound team to begin their first rolling tests with the vehicle on an airfield in Cornwell in spring 2015 before moving out to South Africa in the summer of next year.

The record attempt, to be made in the desert on the Hakskeen Pan in Northern Cape province, is pencilled in for September 2016, although some slippage in the timescale could well occur.

“Obviously, there is no manual for such a project so timescales can shift a lot,” said Mr Cunliffe. “It is very much a moveable feast as they say.”

Other businesses from the eastern region involved in the BloodHound project include Advanced Fuel Systems from Newport, near Saffron Walden, which is providing fuel cells, Air Bench of Colchester, which is supplying downdraught workbenches with built-in fume and dust extraction and racing helmet artwork specialist JLF Designs from Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds.

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