The UK team aiming to smash its own land speed record by driving a car beyond 1,000mph (1,610km/h) has settled on a final design for the vehicle.
It calls for a major re-configuration of the vehicle’s two power units, with a Eurofighter jet engine now being positioned above a hybrid rocket.
The car, known as Bloodhound, will be built in Bristol’s docklands.
The team expects to start running the vehicle on the Hakskeen Pan, Northern Cape Province, South Africa, in 2011.
The dried-out lake bed had the perfect surface for the record attempt, said Bloodhound’s driver, Wing Commander Andy Green.
“It’s hard enough to support a six-tonne car on metal wheels but soft enough to allow the wheels just to sink in maybe 10mm,” he told BBC News.
The project was launched into the public domain in October 2008. Since then, intensive efforts have been under way to finalise the car’s design – one that maximises the vehicle’s performance and stability.
The original plan was to position a small (200kg) rocket above a heavier (1,000kg) EJ200 Eurofighter Typhoon engine loaned to the team by Britain’s Ministry of Defence.
However, as the design staff worked through the modelling, it became clear that additional thrust was going to be needed to overcome the aerodynamic drag. This called for a bigger (400kg) rocket.
This in turn introduced instabilities that could only be solved by flipping the positions of the two power units.
“We have switched the architecture of the rocket and the jet engine and the reason for that was we were seeing some quite high lift loads at the rear end of the car,” explained chief designer John Piper.
“The change, though, has had some beneficial side-effects, he added.
“We can now get a good chassis structure across the top which means we can now have a really good mounting for a single fin, whereas before with the rocket on top it was right in the way of where the fin would go. That meant we were going to have to have two fins, one on each side; and they were occupying the space where ideally we’d like to put in parachute cans.