Imagine a car that glides on the ground at speeds of up to 1,000 mph (around 1,600 km/h). For the last 10 years, Perth-based drag racing record-holder Rosco McGlashan, and his Aussie Invader team, have been working to turn this dream into a reality, with their innovative rocket-powered car. Known as Aussie Invader 5R, this badass supersonic vehicle will compete against USA/Canada-developed North American Eagle and UK’s Bloodhound SSC to set a new world absolute land speed record.
The current world LSR of 763 mph (or 1,227 km/h) is held by Britain. Once fully developed, the new Aussie Invander 5R will be able to reach speeds of over 1,000 mph (approx. 1,600 km/h), i.e. one-and-a-half times the velocity of sound. Powered by a single rocket engine and running on liquid oxygen/bio-kerosene fuel, the faster-than-a-bullet car can attain such speeds in less than twenty seconds. Speaking about this incredibly futuristic vehicle, the Aussie Invader team said:
It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, set the world land speed record at 1,000mph. It’s my life… Most of what we are trying to achieve has never been done before. Every part of the car is custom made, you just cannot buy these parts off the shelf.
Currently being built at a workshop in Mullaloo, Perth, the 18-meter-long car weighs nearly 9.2 tonnes, producing nearly 62,000 lbs of thrust, which amounts to around 200,000 horsepower. In comparison, a Ford Fiesta generates only about 120 horsepower of thrust. To complete this $4 million project, Rosco has enlisted the help of aerodynamics, rocket propulsion and engineering experts from Perth-based Curtin University. The 65-year-old speedster added:
The problem is that we don’t know how a car will react at 1,000mph. There are issues with the pocket of air the car has to punch its way through, especially as it goes through the sound barrier, which may make the car unstable.
The car features wheels made from aerospace-grade aluminium, with each weighing about 140 kg. At maximum speed, the wheels spin at nearly 10,000 repetitions every minutes. Many of the components, according to Aussie Invader member Mark Read, are being created with the help of highly-specialized computer-aided design (CAD), and tested using advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Read said:
If we were to break the world land speed record, Australia would hold both the land and water world speed records, which would be a fantastic achievement for this country, and show us as a leading country in engineering and technology.
By contrast, Britain’s Bloodhound SSC has a rocket as well as a jet engine, and is intended to attain speeds of around Mach 1.4. The jet engine will first propel the vehicle to a particular velocity, after which the rocket will take over, pushing the car to 1,000 mph (or 1,600 km/h). It is currently being developed by Scotland-born entrepreneur Richard Noble who, along with Andy Green, has held the world LSR for the last 28 years. Talking about Bloodhound, Noble said:
This is the most fascinating car I have ever worked on…The pressures on the car at those speeds are incredible, around 12 tonnes per square meter. That means the car has to be as tough and as rigid as a submarine. No-one has ever done that.
To know more about Aussie Invader 5R, click here.