LONDON    -   A British team is developing a car that will be capable of reaching 1,000mph (1,610km/h). Powered by a rocket bolted to a Eurofighter-Typhoon jet engine, the vehicle aims to show its potential by going progressively faster, year after year.

By the end of 2019, Bloodhound wants to have demonstrated speeds above 500mph. The next step would be to break the existing world land speed record (763mph; 1,228km/h). The racing will take place on Hakskeen Pan in Northern Cape, South Africa.

We’re off! By the time you read this, Bloodhound will already have started the 5,500-mile journey south to its Hakskeenpan desert track in South Africa. The majority of the team will arrive in mid-October, aiming to start high-speed testing towards the end of the month.

There’s been a huge amount of work over the past few weeks to get the car ready. It may seem strange that we’ve apparently left everything to the last minute but believe me, it’s not by choice.

Some of the key bits of hardware on the car have only recently arrived, including our Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine, once all the paperwork was in place (borrowing a state-of-the-art military jet engine is, quite rightly, a non-trivial process). The huge carbon-fibre airbrake doors were another long-lead item that arrived pretty much at the eleventh hour but, given all the work that went into them, we’re very grateful to have them in time for this year’s tests.

With the arrival of all the bits of the car, both big and small, the team has raced to fit them all together over the past few weeks. Each bit then needs testing to make sure it will work when we unpack it 5,500 miles away in South Africa. This includes the complex jet engine systems, which have to mimic the controls of the Eurofighter-Typhoon to make the jet engine think it’s at home.

Our first attempt to simulate a jet engine start was unsuccessful (I would emphasise the word “simulate” - we’ve got a great relationship with our hosts at Berkeley Green UTC, but if we fired up a jet engine inside the college, the relationship might become a little strained).

Our brilliant systems guru Joe Holdsworth quickly diagnosed that the high-speed digital comms link between the engine and the car had failed to start up correctly.

The solution? The same one you and I would use - switch it off, then switch it back on again!

Last week I watched the wheel hubs being assembled. These are beautiful bits of engineering, containing not just one, or even two, but three separate high-speed wheel bearings on each wheel, giving us a huge amount of redundancy (and hence safety).

The wheel hubs are an “interference fit” inside the wheel bearings. In other words, they are so precisely machined that the parts grip each other tight when fitted together.

In turn, this extremely tight fit requires a special assembly method.

Each hub is left in the freezer overnight, which causes it to shrink very slightly. When the hub is brought out of the freezer and dropped into the bearing housing, it slides in snugly. As the hub gradually warms up to room temperature, it expands by a fraction of a millimetre and, because the clearance is so small, it locks in place inside the bearings. Hopefully we won’t have to take them out again.

There have also been some interesting discoveries during the car assembly.

One of the less welcome ones was a broken retainer on a pin in the suspension assembly. We believe that this device was originally weakened/damaged by some of the high bump loads we had during our Newquay test session a couple of years ago. A fix is already being put in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.