Bloodhound Programme Ltd, the company behind the Bloodhound SSC land speed record attempt, announced Monday that it has entered into administration, a process similar to bankruptcy protection.
Unfortunately, the project is unlikely to get off the ground again unless Bloodhound Programme manages to raise $33 million.
“While not an insignificant amount, the [$33 million] Bloodhound requires to break the land speed record is a fraction of the cost of, for example, finishing last in a F1 season or running an Americas Cup team,” said Andrew Sheridan, an appointed official overseeing the administration.
The United Kingdom-based project has so far survived on a partnership and sponsorship model, with support from a variety of partners including Geely, Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls Royce, Rolex and the British military which provided a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine for the rocket- and jet-powered Bloodhound SSC. The engine is normally found in Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets.
The Bloodhound SSC will use the EJ200 jet engine to get up to around 300 mph. Beyond this speed, it will use a cluster of bespoke hybrid rockets developed by defense firm Nammo. The combined output of the 44.3-foot streamliner is a claimed 135,000 horsepower. A public test in October 2017 saw the car hit 210 mph in 8.0 seconds.
A lack of funding has already caused a number of delays, though this is the first time the project has entered administration. The good news is that Bloodhound Programme is in talks with new investors.
“We are already in discussion with a number of potential investors and would encourage any other interested party to contact us without delay,” Sheridan said.
The current land speed record for a steerable car is the 763.035 mph set in October 1997 by British Royal Air Force pilot Andy Green driving the jet-powered Thrust SSC. Green is the person Bloodhound Programme has selected to drive its Bloodhound SSC not only to a new record but also to a speed in excess of 1,000 mph.
Should the necessary funds be raised, the project has previously said it will attempt a run in late 2019. The attempt will take place at a section of South Africa’s Kalahari Desert known as the Hakseen Pan.
In addition to seeking to break the record, the project is a major R&D catalyst and the focal point for an education campaign to generate more interest among students in STEM subjects.