Europe’s biggest trailer maker is playing a vital role in powering a daring British bid to break the World Land Speed Record.
One of two six-wheel flatbed trailers supplied by product sponsor Ifor Williams Trailers was used to carry equipment for cooling the huge jet engine when supersonic car Bloodhound SSC hit the international headlines by breaking the 200mph barrier on its first public outing in Newquay.
And a number of other trailers from the company will heading out to South Africa with the project team on the next stage of their epic speed challenge when they aim to push towards the 600mph barrier with the eventual aim of setting a new world record of more than 1,000mph.
Led by Richard Noble, the man behind the legendary Thrust and Thrust 2 projects who held the land speed record from 1983 to 1997, the Bloodhound SSC bid puts in the cockpit Andy Green, the former RAF pilot who set the current world land speed record at 763mph on Blackrock Desert Nevada in 1997.
The aim of the project is not only to smash through 1,000mph but also to inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers through an education programme surrounding the research, design and building of the supercar.
Powered eventually by both jet and rocket power, the awesome Bloodhound SSC uses cutting edge construction techniques.
With its slender body of about 13.4m in length, the formidable speed machine weighs 7.5 tonnes and is designed to produce over 135,000 horsepower - more than six times the power of all the Formula One racing cars on a starting grid put together.
Bloodhound is currently powered by a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet from a Eurofighter Typhoon and will eventually also be fitted with a super-sophisticated rocket now under development by the Norwegian aerospace industry.
At Newquay Airport Bloodhound was wheeled out in public for the first time since the project began nine years ago and thousands of spectators watched in awe as it blasted easily through the 200mph mark in about eight seconds on two separate trips down the 1.7-mile runway.
Ifor Williams Trailers was represented at the historic test run by senior designer Bryn Davies and purchasing manager Phil Evans.
Bryn said: "There was a real buzz of excitement and the car has a real wow factor . It makes me feel proud that Ifor Williams Trailers makes a product that can happily sit alongside world class technology to hopefully play a key role in the success of the record attempt
Phil added: "Our trailers have been designed to be flexible and they have been called upon to transport many unusual loads but as far as I'm aware we've never carried anything like this before.
"We're also pleased that we're able to give a boost to the educational project that's being run by the Bloodhound team and we're hoping it will help inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers."
Bloodhound's sponsorship liaison manager Tony Parraman said: “Everyone had a fantastic day, the weather held and the car ran beautifully.
“The next stage is for the team to deploy to South Africa sometime in the near future when we’ll be doing further high speed testing of the jet engine.
“Now we’ve successfully reached 200mph we’ll be aiming for 600mph and gradually building up the speed from there. However, each part of the project needs its own funding streams and we can only do them as we have the money available.
“For the next stage of testing we’ll be using Hakskeen Pan in the Northern Cape, a dried out lake bed which is extremely flat and extends for 12 miles. We’ve already removed 16,000 tonnes of stones covering 24 million square metres to make sure it’s safe for high speed testing. We’ll also eventually do some testing of the rocket engine out in South Africa.”
He added: “Ifor Williams Trailers, which is one of our official product sponsors, have already provided us with two flatbed trailers, one of which is used to carry cooling equipment for the jet engine and the engine bay of the car and the other as a refuelling rig for the rocket.
“When you’re involved in a major project such as this it’s extremely beneficial to have companies like Ifor Williams Trailers to supply essential kit.
“Also, if you’re out in the middle of desert and an axle breaks on one of your vehicles that’s the end of your testing, so having a solid, reliable platform such as the trailers provided by Ifor Williams has been vital to the ongoing success of Bloodhound SSC.”
Tony said that the project was also making good use of two large Ifor Williams box trailers which for the past few years have been providing the driving force behind its pioneering education programme.
“In the past nine years just short of a million schoolchildren from all over the UK have been involved in this,” he said.
“The trailers are excellent for our purposes and allow the education team to take a full-sized modular show car into schools and colleges as part of the Bloodhound inspiration experience.
“This enables students to explore the science and engineering behind the 1,000mph car and re-engage with science, technology, engineering and maths in the classroom.”
News » Ifor Williams trailers help power supersonic challenge to set new world land speed record