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High-tech steering system for the Bloodhound project

Richard Noble - photo by Stefan Marjoram
(Photo of Richard Noble by Stefan Marjoram).

Titan was approached in April 2012 by the Bloodhound project to design and manufacture a steering system for their land speed record vehicle, with which they aim to achieve 1,000 mph.

Titan manufacture steering racks for a wide range of vehicles but the load requirements, environmental conditions and space constraints meant that for Bloodhound, a more unconventional system was required.

“The steering requirements for the Bloodhound land speed record car are unusual as we have a 30:1 steering ratio and a steering lock of 5 degrees, which required us to have a bespoke steering rack,” commented Brian Coombs, Engineering Lead – Mechanical Design of Bloodhound.

As co-operating closely with the project engineers was a necessity, Titan utilised the latest 3D CAD technology to share and develop design concepts in a collaborative environment. One of the most crucial aspects in the design of the steering rack for this vehicle is the extreme loads the system will be subjected to. Detailed finite element analysis was utilised to design the housing, rack bar and bracket to ensure all components within the steering system are able to endure the high loads required.

The environmental conditions Bloodhound will experience are vastly different than those encountered by a car used in race or road scenarios. Therefore, considerable design consideration was given to ensuring that the rack is sealed off to avoid its operation being affected by any environmental elements.

The third important design consideration involved the vehicle’s highly aerodynamic nature. The steering rack design was complicated significantly by the lack of available space. The Titan designers managed to overcome this issue by devising an innovative system which allowed the pickup points for the track rods to be inboard of the ends of the rack bar and forward of one of the bulkheads whilst keeping the rack behind the bulkhead. Having successfully designed the system, Titan was then relied upon to ensure that all components were manufactured and assembled within the required time frame.

“Titan was the perfect company to help us with this design challenge, which they then manufactured and supplied to us very quickly,” said Brian.

Bloodhound recently took the on-schedule delivery of the system for testing, ahead of a possible land speed world record attempt in 2015.

Titan was founded 48 years ago as CLE, adopting the Titan name in 1971. It was originally a Team Lotus F3 constructor that migrated to building the innovative and competitive Formula Ford engine.

Over the years, Titan’s products increased in demand to such an extent that the company dedicated itself to becoming a world class design and manufacture facility preferred by those who depend on quality engineering.

Titan has supported leading vehicle manufacturers for over 20 years, and has strong relationships with various motorsport teams and constructors.

We will be keeping an eye on how testing goes and of course, how the possible record attempt goes in 2015.