Virgin Galactic to bring back supersonic travel

Virgin Galactic has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rolls-Royce to collaborate in designing and developing engine propulsion technology for high speed commercial aircraft. Think of a new Concorde… but faster.

The concept is a delta-wing aircraft capable of carrying up to 19 people at speeds of Mach 3, three times the speed of sound (2,300mph) at over 60,000ft. That will allow passengers to travel from London to New York in one and half hours or London to Sydney in just over four and a half hours.

The concept powered by Rolls-Royce engines will help lead the way towards the use of state-of-the-art sustainable aviation fuel. In the next phases of design, the companies will determine the ideal materials for supersonic long haul flights as well as address key challenges in thermal management, maintenance, noise, emissions, and economics that routine high speed commercial flights would entail. We might not be travelling in Mach 3 by next year, but it is on the horizon and the aircraft will operate as any other passenger aircraft slotting into the existing airport infrastructure. Those who weren’t lucky to see a Concorde in flight, this may be your chance to experience supersonic flight.

Rolls-Royce Wraith Kryptos – the car with ciphers

Tesla owners play games on the screen of their cars, but what if the car itself was the game? Rolls-Royce has created the Wraith Kryptos Collection incorporating a series of secret messages. The lucky 50 owners will be able to try to solve the complex ciphers that evolve throughout the car.

It may sound like the designers have had a little too much time on their hands during lockdown, but ciphers can be traced back millenia capturing the imagination of some of the world’s brilliant minds.

Rolls-Royce states that to those who aren’t aware of the ciphers, it is “an alluring design purely for aesthetic purposes and devoid of any discernible pattern.” But to those in the know will spend time trying to crack the code.

It is so secretive that only two people at Rolls-Royce know the resolution of the sequence – the designer and the CEO, with the answer placed in a sealed envelope in a safe in the CEO’s office. If any of those 50 owners actually try to crack the code, they can submit their efforts through the Rolls-Royce Whispers app. So what actually makes this Wraith stand out?

The Spirit of Ecstasy is engraved with green enamel detailing, recrafted front bumpers draw the eye lower whilst the bespoke Delphic Grey paint holds its own secret. Only in sunlight do the fine blue and green mica flakes appear. This is further accentuated with a double coachline painted in Kryptos Green and Dark Grey.

Inside, the theme continues with Kryptos Green accents against a Selby Grey or Anthracite leather interior. Instead of the double R embossed on the headrests owners will have elements of the cipher embroidered onto it. Look up to the roof lining and instead of Rolls’ famous starlight headliner there is a beautifully elaborate, bi-coloured headliner depicting an in-motion data-stream inspired motif. Will it sell? I am sure of it. How many of the 50 owners will try to decipher it? Probably none.

 

Bombardier Global 5500 – The new way to fly private

Luxury travel has just been upgraded. Bombardier has introduced the Global 5500 private jet which can fly the furthest, with passengers lounging in the largest cabin enjoying the smoothest ride of any jet in its class.

Able to fly 200 nautical miles longer than planned with a range of 5,900 nautical miles (10,927km) at Mach 0.90, powered by purpose built Rolls-Royce Pearl engines, it can fly nonstop from Paris to Sao Paolo or Los Angeles to Moscow. The Global 5500 isn’t just about range, it also has the widest cabin in its class capable of hosting 13 guests across three living spaces – the Club Suite, the Conference Suite and the Private Suite.

Each aircraft is fitted with Nuage seats, a revolutionary seat that intends to bring home seating to an aircraft cabin. With the possibility of reclining into a deep recline, a floating base which moves as you do as well as an adjustable and tilting headrest, you will arrive at your destination fresh.

With more focus than ever on airborne pathogens, the Global 5500 is equipped with Bombardier’s Pũr Air system, able to replace cabin air with 100% fresh air in around one and a half minutes whilst the advanced HEPA filter is said to capture 99.9% of all allergens, bacteria and viruses.

There is no word on pricing, you’ll have to contact a member of the sales team if you are serious on purchasing such a machine, but in the meantime you can always dream and configure ‘your’ jet to your heart’s content.

The best of 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Goodwood is the closest you are going to get to motoring heaven. Music has Glastonbury, Football has the World Cup and cars have Goodwood.

The Journey

The journey to Goodwood was all about car spotting, for the first hour or so not much turned up but once we got within a few miles of Goodwood, some utter beauties were seen flying past. We were even lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Chris Evan’s Laferrari, Aston Martin DB4 Zagato and the FAB1 Rolls Royce.

The Laferrari as most of you already know, is the newest car to come out of Maranello sometimes referred to as the F70. Only 499 examples of this model have been built and we were lucky to catch a glimpse of three throughout the festival. The Aston Martin DB4 Zagato Sanction II is an even rarer breed with only four built and it was just parked up in a hotel car park with no security.

LaFerrari, Aston Martin DB4 Zagato and Rolls Royce
LaFerrari, Aston Martin DB4 Zagato and Rolls Royce

 

The Manufacturer’s stands

This is a petrol head’s dream. Manufacturers let you get up close and personal with their new cars and even show off some concepts. Nearly every manufacturer tried to outdo the other with lavish stands showcasing their best metal. On some occasions the simple stands were the ones that did it best like TWISTED and Ariel. There aren’t as many people around the cars which give you a better opportunity to examine the car and get some great shots. Out of all the stands I visited, I personally loved the McLaren stand. It could be that I have a soft spot for the British marque but they made the stand open more like a marquee with some historical machines as well as the P1 and new 650S GT3 race car.

McLaren P1

 

The Hill

Goodwood Hill isn’t a ver long course, a mere 1.16 mile track. Shouldn’t be too hard for professional racing drivers, right?  The track rises by over 300ft from the start to finish and drivers have to deal with tree-lined corners and changes in light and grip. A few drivers got caught out at Molecomb which saw a few exotics crashing through straw bales. This year Sebastien Loeb, in his Pikes Peak winning car tried his best to beat the record  of 41.6 seconds set by Nick Heidfeld but only managed a 44.6 second run on Saturday. John Surtees and Kimi Raikkonen put on a show for the spectators on the last day cruising up the hill in their F1 cars.

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The F1 Paddock

This where all the cars which have been lusted over on television for years sat all together. A mix of old and new. Formula 1, Le Mans to Pikes Peak. They were all there. At 11am on Sunday, the people were lucky to be in the paddock were treated to some great sounds when most of the cars were all started and revved hard for a minute. Unfortunately the Mazda 767B wasn’t started after blowing its engine at Le Mans.

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The Super-car Paddock

This paddock was filled with a number of great super cars, namely the LaFerrari, Porsche 918 Spyder, Mclaren P1 and Koenigsegg Agera One:1 along with many others. There were also some crazy cars in the paddock too including the Aston Martin concept DC100 as well as the Ferrari F12 TRS. Jay-kay’s kermit green LaFerrari was also parked up.

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Cartier Style-et-luxe concourse d’Eleganze 

The Style-et-Luxe pavilion was where pretty cars in seven different classes were to be judged by a number of honourable guests. The beautiful Maserati A6GCS which the Alfieri concept took design cues from, won ‘best in show’ and you can see why. it is absolutely marvellous.

Maserati A6GCS

Maserati Centenary 

Celebrating Maserati’s Centenary, Goodwood house set up a little area in the courtyard solely for the Maserati brand. Some of the top-selling cars were on show including the good-looking Maserati Alfieri concept. let’s hope that they put that stunning machine into production and we can wait for it start winning Concourse d’eleganze shows in years to come like its older siblings.

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I didn’t manage to find time to head up to the Rally stage or go on any of the experiences that the manufacturers were offering, but that just gives me more of a reason to head there again next year. Take a look at the additional gallery below

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Rallying Supercars

Supercars are loved everywhere, no matter how old you are, when you see one you will coo like a baby.

There is something about supercars that make grown men act like 9 year olds, it could be their immense pace or even their looks but more recently a person going by the name on ‘taxtherich100’ on Youtube has taken driving them to a whole new level.

Starting off with the viral ‘ Rolls Royce rally’ video posted on Pistonheads which hit over 3 million views in just over 2 months. Taking the car out of its natural wafting habitat and hooning it around a field is in some people mind a piece of heaven.

Then after this, there was the more sacred Ferrari Enzo treated like a rally car which hit 2.8 million views in 4 days. He seems to be doing something right after all.

Will we be seeing more people taking their cherished supercars for a quick rally run? Would love to see a Pagani being put through its paces on a muddy track. Can you call this an act of insanity? Not at all…. just a rich man wanting to have fun with his toys.

All I can say, I would hate to be the guy cleaning the cars afterwards.