The World Land Speed Record attempt is scheduled for 2011, but the big question this morning was where that attempt would be made. To answer that question, Andy Green took to the stage and recounted how he had travelled the world over the past year looking for the ideal location to run Bloodhound SSC.
The key to making a track for a World Land Speed Record attempt is finding somewhere that's flat and dry. For a long time salt flats were seen as the perfect place for running record breaking cars, but as Green pointed out, the salt flats can be too hard for a car running solid aluminium wheels. He also pointed out that the location of the Thrust SSC record breaking run was no longer a viable option, because the surface of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada has become far too rough and would simply result in a broken car.
Eventually a short list of possible locations was drawn up and it was up to Green to choose the best one for the job. After much travelling and much disappointment, Green thought that he had found the perfect location in South Africa at Verneuk Pan. Unfortunately, closer inspection of the site proved it to be unsuitable, without a massive excavation operation to make the surface smooth enough to run the car.
While the team were in South Africa, they decided to check out another possible site - Hakskeen Pan. This had originally been ruled out because a road ran across it, but closer inspection revealed that the road was long closed and that the surface and size were ideal.
So, Northern Cape, South Africa it is then. Luckily I've got lots of family in South Africa, so I'll be making my way over there in 2011 to watch the fastest man on Earth go even faster.
Check out the Bloodhound SSC website for all the latest news on the project and to make a donation - everyone who donates £10 or more gets their name on the car!