Lockheed Martin UK INSYS Ltd to Help Re-Invent the Wheel for World's Fastest Car

BLOODHOUND SSC launches wheel concept study

One of the world's largest defence companies, Lockheed Martin UK INSYS Ltd, is providing R&D in the first step towards designing the wheels on the world's fastest car, BLOODHOUND SSC.

Lockheed Martin UK INSYS Ltd is leading a 700 hour 'wheel concept study', to identify and explore initial ideas for the wheel design, which, made from premium grade solid titanium, will experience the most extreme driving conditions ever known:

  • The 900mm-diameter wheels will spin at 10,500 RPM, with a force of 50,000 radial G at the wheel rim; so fast they will have to be made from solid premium-grade titanium to prevent them from flying apart.
  • Fully fuelled, the car will weigh 6.5 tonnes and the air pressure bearing down on the car's carbon fibre and titanium bodywork will exceed twelve tonnes per square metre.

The project marks the first step in the wheel design process, aiming to discover if it is even possible to produce such a wheel.

The next step will be to form a syndicate of specialist suppliers: forging and materials specialists, a design base, machiner and heat treater, for example.

The Project has an aggressive time-frame with the first overseas record attempt (at 900mph) set to take place in 2011. The exact run location will also not yet be confirmed until the end of 2009 - which could introduce new variables to overcome.
BLOODHOUND SSC's Engineering Director John Piper said:

"The single requirement for a land speed record car is that it has four wheels: everything else is optional."

"Without the wheels we have no car. Yet, the wheel development programme is one of the most challenging aspects of the vehicle's design so we welcome Lockheed Martin's support, with their expertise in overcoming complex engineering challenges."

Steve Burnage, Research Engineering Manager at Lockheed Martin UK INSYS Ltd said:

"We are proud to be involved in the design of such a vital element of the car, and will utilise our experience and to find the optimum solution for this exciting challenge."

Richard Noble, BLOODHOUND Project Director said:

"The pioneering research in aerodynamics, materials technology and manufacturing - now underway - will, without doubt, continue to benefit industry for years to come."

"But the BLOODHOUND Project is not just about the pursuit of speed. It presents the perfect opportunity to spotlight maths, science and engineering careers in the most exciting way possible - by pushing technology to its limit."

Notes to editors:
The BLOODHOUND Project is Britain's latest attempt on the World Land Speed Record with a car capable of 1,000 mph.

Our Mission? To inspire future generations to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics by showcasing these subjects in the most exciting way possible.

Richard Noble (project director) and Andy Green (driver) head the team for this exciting endeavour. These two trailblazers set the current record (763 mph) in 1997 with Thrust SSC and will attempt to beat their record with BLOODHOUND SSC (Super Sonic Car) in 2011.

The wheel challenge: www.bloodhoundssc.com


Media Contact:
Carolyn Nelson: +44(0)7810 771 688
email: carolyn.nelson@lmco.com

For further information about the BLOODHOUND Project please contact Jules Tipler on 0845 226 0803 or visit www.bloodhoundssc.com