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How Do You Stop a 1,000 MPH Car?

by Paul Strauss

The team from Bloodhound SSC is aiming to break the land speed record with their jet- and rocket-powered car that will some day reach an insane 1,000MPH. In this clip, the Bloodhound mechanical design lead Brian Coombs explains just exactly what it takes to slow down the vehicle at the end of its run, and bring it safely to a stop before it reaches the edge of its desert runway.

Once the Bloodhound’s engines are shut off, the car will quickly drop to about 800MPH. From that point air brakes will open up to decrease its speed from down to under 160MPH in just about 20 seconds. The vehicle will thenĀ use conventional wheel braking to come to a complete stop. The challenge is that even at that speed, its wheels are spinning at over 10,000 RPM, and the car is driving on a salt flat, which takes longer to stop on than paved surfaces.

After tests of carbon rotors used on fighter jets resulted in the discs shattering, the team has settled on massive steel discs, which have thus far held up in lab testing much better than the carbon ones. Only time will tell how well they will handle the real-world testing on the vehicle itself.

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