Superleague in Land Speed Record attempt


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…Well, sort of! Even though the curtain came down on the 2009 Superleague Formula by Sonangol season at Jarama last weekend, the shriek of the series’ bespoke V12 engine won’t remain silent for very long.

That’s because the 4.2-litre unit is being readied to help take on one of the greatest technological challenges mankind has yet to attempt – 1000mph on land.

Over the next few months, one of Superleague’s MCT-developed powerplants will be tested by Richard Noble and his Bloodhound SSC team as they prepare to smash the World Land Speed Record.

The fact that Superleague’s engine, which produces 750bhp, will only be used to power Bloodhound’s auxiliary systems such as the fuel pump and electrical equipment says much for the scale of this project. The smallest of three engines, it is dwarfed by the rocket and jet motor that will together provide all 42,500lbs of forward thrust. That’s roughly equivalent to the total power of 180 Formula 1 cars!

Development begins with rocket simulation work before the engine is run in conjunction with its counterparts for the first time next month. Although no definite completion date has yet been reached, the team hope to make their first record attempt in 2011 when they will aim to reach Mach 1.4.

The project caps an impressive year for the engine which was nominated as a finalist at the British Engineering Excellence Awards in September. The 2009 Superleague Formula title fight also witnessed the championship’s 18 teams clock up a combined distance of nearly 50,000kms across the season without a single major engine failure recorded.

Kevin Lee, MCT’s managing director, said: “At the end of our second year working with the Superleague team, the partnership continues to go from strength to strength. Superleague’s Robin Webb and team have again done an outstanding job of combining the passions of motorsport and football, taking the package to an ever-growing audience. With drivers of the calibre of Sebastien Bourdais moving to the series, the growing stature of the championship is there for all to see. It’s an exciting time for Superleague and we feel privileged to be involved.”

Robin Webb, operations director of Superleague Formula, added: “MCT has done a fantastic job delivering a reliable, innovative and high-performance product. The engine is one of Superleague Formula’s hallmarks, which has provoked many a positive comment from the established motorsport media. In particular, that evocative exhaust note is very distinctive and one that has helped turn the series into a crowd favourite.”