Interview w/ Land-Record Holder Andy Green [video]
By Zack Klapman
“60,000HP, that’s a good start.”
60,000 is a big number to just start with no matter what you’re talking about. Could be grains of sand, 60,000 is still a lot. 60,000 horsepower, as a start-ing number?? Now you know you’re dealing with something, or perhaps someone, completely insane, and aspiring to something really incredible. Well, we are. The man who said that is Andy Green, the former RAF pilot who now spends his time going over Mach 1, on the ground. The World Land Speed Record holder, he drove(?) the ThustSSC to 763.035MPH. On the ground. Where there’s twigs, and skunks, and children…
As you may know, adrenaline is an addictive thing, and we get comfortable with speed or danger pretty quickly. At age 5 I was scared to stand up on my skateboard. 10 years later, my friends and I were skating down hills at 30MPH, next to cars. In a car, that tolerance goes up even faster, because the speeds increase (basically) with the will of your right foot. 100MPH was exciting, until I did it once a week. Now my heart doesn’t get out of bed below 140. So as much as I’d like to think 763MPH would be good enough for me, I’m sure that, one month later, I’d look for a way to go faster.
That’s what Andy is doing, and that’s what Mike Spinelli wanted to talk to him about. The interview is excellent, and gets into the technology, the hurdles, the 800HP fuel pump, and why he’s trying to go 1,000MPH for your kids. Make the jump to watch.
Because land speed record attempts are so rare, and each team has such a different approach, their designs and technology are all made public. In F1 for example, you don’t show another team your aero design, because they might steal it. Not here.
So, back to 60,000HP. It’s not enough for Mr. Crazy pants. What number was enough horsepower for Andy, and the team’s goal of 1000MPH? 135,000. That’s 1,000 Lemons-ready Honda Civics all buzzing in unison. It’s the power of 100 Koenigseggs, squeezed down into a single vehicle with only one seat. The task of harnessing that power and all the complications that come with it is immense, but wouldn’t you love to sit there, and hit “Go”?
But why is Andy-or any team for that matter- doing this? Man’s nature to push himself, to see what’s possible, is certainly part of it. But there’s also an altruistic mission, similar to what astronauts say about the space program:
“Money is very tight right now. The environment becomes progressively more important…can we justify ever bigger, more fuel-hungry land-speed record cars, that’s quite a tough sell. We’ve got a slightly bigger aim, and all the teams have the same aim: to make science and technology just more fun, and more exciting, for the average 8, 10, 12 year old kid.” – Andy Green
Inspiring children has been a big topic in the news this year, with the budgets for the arts, and sciences, being slashed at many schools. Neil DeGrasse Tyson has spoken extensively on how pushing science and space exploration is what inspires people to push our intellectual boundaries; a space shuttle launch today might turn a kid onto a path that leads to the next great invention. That’s what Andy is trying to do, by breeding a space rocket with a car. We love it.
Source: DRIVE Network