You could do a lot with nearly 300 Kenworth 909s. Like towing Suncorp Stadium down to the Gold Coast. But compress their combined power and torque into a single mind-boggling blast of speed that is all over in less than half a minute?
That’s what WA’s Roscoe McGlashan has packaged together for his latest land speed record attempt.
Sometime in 2023, after final systems and speed testing, McGlashan will sit himself down in front of a massive explosion designed to hurl him along a carefully measured course at 1000mph (1609km/h) in pursuit of a supersonic land speed record.
His car, designed, engineered and built in WA, is the Aussie Invader 5R, the latest iteration of the speed demon toys he lives for.
The car is collection of innovation and good old common sense, blended with a critical component from a US Atlas Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. 16-metres long, the needle-shaped car weighs in at 9.2-tonnes fully fuelled and is powered by a single bi-propellant rocket motor.
The core of the engine is an ordinary-looking brownish round plate at the back of the rocket cone. It’s the fuel injector, which is designed by rocket-types to inject massive amounts of fuel and oxidiser in precise proportions into a chamber that becomes hell itself until the fuel is finished.
In its first life, this innocuous disk buried deep in a concrete silo waited endlessly (thankfully) to spark a rocket that would hurl a nuclear holocaust to the other side of the globe.
It’s engineered to deliver 800-litres of turpentine and around 2-tonnes of white fuming nitric acid into Aussie Invader’s burn chamber in a precise pattern and mix to ensure maximum thrust. The fuel and oxidiser are hypergolic, which means they detest each other and explode on contact – like teenage siblings.
The engine churns out 62,000 pounds of thrust at sea level. The equivalent horsepower is calculated thus – thrust in pounds x speed in mph, by 375 (which is equal to one horsepower measured in mile-pounds per hour)!
Phew. So at 1609km/h (1000mph) Aussie Invader is churning out 165,333hp. That could really take you places. And that’s where the nearly 300 Kenworth prime movers come in. Aussie Invader compresses all that grunt into a titanic 20-second explosion of fury.
For that party trick, Aussie Invader burns through 2.8-tonnes of propellant in 20 seconds flat, or 140kgs (three and a bit Toyota Corolla fuel tanks) per second during the run.
Put simply, Rosco McGlashan is strapped to the pointy end of one almighty big bang and a mega-rough ride. Aussie Invader’s 10,000rpm wheels are solid aerospace aluminium and there’s no suspension.
On the big day, yet to be finalised with sponsors, a surveyed 22km course will include seven kilometres for acceleration, a combination one mile and one kilometre timing trap, and around 14km for slowing down.
Within an hour, Aussie Invader is turned around and refuelled, McGlashan is topped up with mineral water, puts his teeth back in and sets off on the return leg.
McGlashan got the FIA, motor sport’s governing body to change the rules to allow two timing traps, one at each end of the run because of the distance needed to slow down and time for safety checks. The average of the two runs will be the recorded speed.
Go for it Rosco McGlashan!