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A supersonic car gears up for a record-breaking test drive

British engineers are putting the finishing touches on a car that can break the sound barrier. The Bloodhound SCC is expected to break the world record for car velocity via a Eurofighter jet engine and Rolls Royce power unit under the hood, along with a rocket firing off in its rear.

Engineers fired up the engine for some initial tests Friday at the Newquay airfield in Cornwall and reported that it worked just as expected, shooting a fiery orange blaze out its rear nozzle. They had initial doubts that it would work properly as the engine was designed for aircraft, but driver Andy Green said that the vehicle has so far put their concerns to rest.

“It’s blown us away, frankly,” Green told BBC News. “It’s given us huge confidence going forward. We now know the engine has no limits just because it’s in a car.”

Green and his team plan to take the car for a drive at the end of October, starting with a “slow speed” trajectory of 200 miles per hour. To truly hit supersonic speed, the car will have to go 768 miles per hour or more. They have a specially prepared race track at Hakskeen Pan in South Africa set aside for it.

The Bloodhound’s designers intend to raise its top speed to 800 miles per hour. At that speed, the car will also break the current world record for car velocity, which is 763 miles per hour.

A full-speed drive may have to wait until 2019, however. The engineers said that the conditions at Hakskeen Pan are only optimal for such high-speed driving between July and November, and the car’s designers do not expect to have it fully operational until sometime after November 2018.

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