Continuing the coverage of Rolex adventures and the watches worn by people reaching heights that no others have attempted, Rolex looks to break the land speed record -again. With backing and technical assistance from Rolex, Bloodhound SS looks to smash the existing world speed record of 763MPH by going 1000MPH – 31% faster than the speed of sound sometime between 2015 and 2016.
The Bloodhound SSC is a pioneering blend of 50% race car and 50% aircraft technologies packed into a vehicle powered by three jet rockets and internal combustion producing horsepower equivalent of 180 Formula 1 racing cars. In order to break the record, the Bloodhound SSC must make two passes within an hour and the two runs are averaged to validate the record. As much as making the car fast, much of the technology is for decelerating the vehicle utilizing a combination of parachutes, air and disk brakes, each having disadvantages at certain speeds. The vehicle will have to decelerate at 3G’s, an equivalent of dropping from 66MPH to 0 (yes ZERO) in one second.
In addition to Rolex’s support, the project is backed by Richard Noble, a Scottish entrepreneur and adventure who broke the 1983 land speed record in Thrust 2, and was project director for Thrust SSC, the first vehicle to break the supersonic land speed record in 1997. Driving the Bloodhound SSC is Andy Green, Oxford mathematics graduate and British RAF fighter pilot who drove the Thrust SSC through the sound barrier. With as much thrust the Bloodhound SSC has, there should be no surprise that these vehicles are not really driven, but rather piloted by certified jet pilots, including Noble and Green.
Rolex’s long association with automotive sport, including the Rolex Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca Raceway, continues with its association with the Bloodhound SSC. Before this project, Malcolm Campbell wore a Rolex in his 1935 land speed record of 301MPH. With Rolex’s support for Formula 1 racing, 24 Hours of Daytona and LeMans, Rolex is quite at home backing a record breaking project such as Bloodhound SSC. Rolex is contributing both the speedometer and the chronograph that will sit inside the cockpit that assist in precision braking required so the vehicle does not run out of track on the 12 mile, straight line course. The speedometer and chronometer will still function despite a power failure in the vehicle. Building custom instruments is not new to Rolex. Rolex designed and manufactured the DeepSea SeaDweller Challenge, a watch that survived the immense water pressure at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, and Rolex produces the clocks and timers used at Wimbledon, the Australian Open, and the 24-hour timers used at Daytona and LeMans.
After this adventure, who knows, maybe Rolex will design an adventure driving based on the challenges the Bloodhound SSC faced. One can only hope.