Get ready to eat my dust: Team of 300 workers clear 12-mile stretch of South African desert for British land speed record attempt
Previously unemployed locals spent two years shifting stones by handThe 20km race track must be completely flat to avoid disasterBloodhound SSC team to begin high speed testing next year
21:31 GMT, 7 December 2012
A British team attempting to break the land speed record have taken a significant step forward after clearing 6,000 tonnes of stones from the South African desert which they plan to use as a race track.
Around 300 previously unemployed workers were taken on by the team behind the Bloodhound Supersonic Car project in cooperation with the Northern Cape government as part of their bid to shatter the 1,000mph barrier sometime in the next two years.
Along with volunteers from the UK and elsewhere in South Africa, the workers have cleared 10,000 million square feet of desert by hand in preparation for the attempt.
Scroll down for video
Back-breaking work: Around 300 previously unemployed local workers helped clear 6,000 tonnes of stones in the South African desert for the land speed record attempt
Mucking in: RAF pilot Andy Green, who will pilot the land speed attempt, helps workers shift stones from the South African desert
The track for the 1,000mph race needs to be completely smooth to avoid a catastrophic disaster.
The Hakskeen Pan desert was chosen ahead of 34 other locations around the world because it is 19km long, 500 metres wide and has a variation of only 61milimetres over the entire course of the two-kilometre run.
Weather conditions are also favourable because the desert is flooded for six months of the year which is part of the reason it is so flat when the rains clear in the spring.
The two-year clearing project is due to be completed in the next few months meaning the team can begin high speed testing in the summer next year.
Well-earned rest: The team of workers celebrate their efforts with land speed record pilot Andy Green
The desert in the Northern Cape is the same site where Sir Malcolm Campbell made one of his many
attempts at the land speed record in 1929.
If Bloodhound succeeds, it will reach
1.4 times the speed of sound – fast enough to get from Land’s End to
John o’Groats in 51 minutes.
It would also see RAF pilot Andy
Green, 50, who will drive Bloodhound, smash his existing land speed
record by more than 200mph and become the first man to drive through the
Green set a new land speed record of 1,228 kilometres per
hour in October 1997.
Should the target of 1,050mph be reached, it will also beat the low-altitude speed record for aircraft of 994mph.
Last month, the triple-powered F1 engine, jet and rocket was successfully tested inside a Cornish aircraft hanger.
It was the first new rocket fired in Britain for 20 years and ran flawlessly for 20 seconds.
At 12 feet long, 18 inches in
diameter and weighing just under 1,000lb, the rocket is the largest of
its kind ever designed in Europe.
And next year, it will be fitted inside the 10million car and send the gleaming orange and blue machine racing to 1,050mph.
Ultimate rocket: An artist's impression of the Bloodhound Supersonic Car which the British team hope will break the 1,000mph barrier
Engineering: The 10million car combines an F1, jet and rocket engines is the largest of its kind in Europe
Andy Green said: 'I’m standing in the middle of the Hakskeen Pan desert on a perfectly cloudless winter's day and looking 10km in each direction of what is rapidly becoming the worlds best race track.
'The team of 300 South African workers have now finished clearing the main track 500 m wide and are now preparing the safety areas.
'They have already cleared 10 million square metres by hand and left the most perfect surface to run on.
'They are all enormously excited about the car coming to the Northern Cape next year, and having seen the work they’ve done I’m equally excited about getting it out here and starting to run at some very high speeds.'
He continued: 'We are enormously grateful for the fantastic support from the Northern Cape, because without their help we couldn’t have done this.'
Crucial: The track needs to be completely flat for the attempt to avoid a catastrophic disaster
Grateful: Land speed record pilot Andy Green said he was hugely grateful to the team of 300 South African workers who have helped clear the desert track by hand
VIDEO: Watch the Bloodhound land-speed-record car animation
'css' : “videoplayer-large”,
'autoplay' : false,
'muted' : false,
'adUrl' : “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/adssz=8×8&iu=%2F7023%2Fdm.video%2Fdm_video_news&ciu_szs=&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=xml_vast2&unviewed_position_start=1&url=[referrer_url]&correlator=[timestamp]”,
'playerId' : “1989148206001”,
'playerKey' : “AQ~~,AAAAAFSL1bg~,CmS1EFtcMWELN_eSE9A7gpcGWF5XAVmI”,
'objId' : “rcpv31864”,
'videoPlayer' : “1875389325001”,
'width' : 636,
'height' : 358,
'linkBaseURL' : “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2244667/Get-ready-eat-dust-Team-300-workers-clear-12-mile-stretch-South-African-desert-British-land-speed-record-attempt.html”