1,600kph Bloodhound Car Project Hits the Skids
The record-breaking Bloodhound car is in danger of stalling before the starting line as the project has run out of funds, and the team is in receivership whilst it desperately looks for the GBP25 million it needs from a new backer to stave off bankruptcy.
The Bloodhound programme was one of those valiant British efforts run by a group of fairly eccentric engineers largely out of a garden shed, but they managed to develop probably the most sophisticated land vehicle ever.
Powered by a Rolls-Royce Eurofighter engine, which is strapped to a rocket, the Bloodhound was designed to go faster than the current land speed record of 1,228kph. How much faster? Well, the team headed by Richard Noble, who was a part of the Thrust SCC team that set the record in 1997, believes that the vehicle would be able to travel in excess of 1,600kph.
Most of the research and development has been done, but this private undertaking that has managed to attract the likes of Rolls-Royce, Castrol, Geely, Rolex, Cisco and Oracle have now reached the limits of the current donors’ generosity and hit a proverbial financial roadblock.
The main structure of the vehicle has been built and was already proven at 360kph last year at Newquay airport in Cornwall. The track, where the attempt at the record was due to happen, on the Hakskeen Pan in the Northern Cape of South Africa is also ready. Critically, the nucleus rocket, of which there were to be three, has been certified ready by Nammo, a Norwegian Aerospace and defence company. They are tantalisingly close to being mission-ready, except for the need of some money.
If you think about it, GBP25 million is not a lot of money: finishing last in F1 would cost you more; competing in the American Cup would cost you a lot more. The Bloodhound Project has been built around a successful team, perhaps the most famous in the history of land speed records, so why are they finding it so difficult to raise the money. According to Noble, this is proving difficult as sponsors that may have traditionally liked to see their logo flash by on the side of a superfast car now prefer the more sedate environment of social media to market their companies. He may have a very good point there.
The cloud of receivership that currently hangs over The Bloodhound Project may still have a silver lining as it will at least give the project some protection from their creditors and give them a fighting chance to find new funds. We’d love to see them get the funding and go for it; however, this is one car we would never ever want to get into: strapped to three rockets with a jet engine on top of it all, you surely need to be completely barmy to even think about it.