The Bloodhound Land Speed Record project has announced that it is looking for a new owner for its rocket-powered supersonic vehicle.
The vehicle is powered by a state-of-the-art jet engine and a next-generation rocket motor.
Its Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine is normally found in a Eurofighter Typhoon and produces a peak thrust of 20,000 kN, equivalent to the combined output of 360 family cars.
The Bloodhound vehicle’s new owner would see the team through to set a new world land speed record in 2022.
Two years ago, the Bloodhound team’s vehicle, which it said is the most advanced straight-line racing car in history, hit a peak speed of 1,011 km/h (628mph) in a test programme.
This test showed that the vehicle has the potential to break the world land speed record after it installs a new rocket.
“The team now needs to install the Nammo monopropellant rocket, giving the car a top speed of over 800 mph (1,287 km/h),” the Bloodhound team said.
“Once again, the car will then run on its specially prepared 12-mile (19.2 km) long dry lake bed race track at Hakskeen Pan, Northern Cape, South Africa.”
A R166-million rocket upgrade
The cost of installing this rocket and conducting the land speed test in South Africa will cost £8 million (R166 million), the team said.
They added that the project is expected to recoup large amounts of this cost through sponsorship and rights sales as the programme is developed.
Chief executive and current owner Ian Warhurst has stepped down from the project after first acquiring it in 2018.
He cited the economic climate caused by COVID-19 and the delay of the project timeline as the reasons for putting the Bloodhound vehicle up for sale.
“When I committed to taking the car high-speed testing in 2019, I allocated enough funding to achieve this goal on the basis that alternative funding would then allow us to continue to the record attempts,” Warhurst said.
“Along with many other things, the global pandemic wrecked this opportunity in 2020 which has left the project unfunded and delayed by a further 12 months.”
“At this stage, in absence of further, immediate, funding, the only options remaining are to close down the programme or put the project up for sale to allow me to pass on the baton and allow the team to continue the project,” he said.
Continuing the adventure
While the project has been held back by the consequence of the global COVID-19 pandemic, work on the project must now be resumed to prepare for the 2022 record attempt.
If work cannot be resumed on the vehicle, the alternative would be to put the Bloodhound car into storage, which would leave the possibility of the project being restarted uncertain.
“As the prospect of a post-COVID world beckons, the Bloodhound team now needs to find a new owner to continue its ‘engineering adventure’,” the team said.
The driver of the supersonic rocket-powered vehicle, Andy Green, said the team is raring to breach the world land speed record and called the car a “technical marvel”.
“In my opinion, the Bloodhound team has built the best land speed record car ever,” Green said. “It made our 628mph test run look easy!”
“After the horrible 2020 pandemic year we have all just experienced, the world needs a good news story, and Bloodhound is ready to deliver it.”
Images of the Bloodhound land speed record car are shown below.