THE FATE of the Bloodhound SSC 1,000MPH land speed record has been put into doubt, as the company running the project has entered administration.
A £25m funding shortfall means Bloodhound Programme Ltd is now being overseen by FRP Advisory — the same firm that stepped in when the Force India Formula One team entered administration in July 2018.
Established in 2007, “Project Bloodhound” has been funded to date through sponsorship deals and hips with firms such as Rolls-Royce and Rolex. Donations from members of the public have also been accepted.
The money raised has enabled the Bloodhound team, headed by land speed record breakers Richard Noble and Andy Green, to build a “viable racing car”. The vehicle had a jet-powered test run at Newquay Airport in October 2017, reaching speeds of over 200mph. The final Bloodhound SSC (supersonic car) is designed to use an additional rocket engine to hit the 1,000mph target.
Despite the funding woes, there are still hopes of the Bloodhound’s potential to surpass the current 763mph land speed record. According to chief engineer Mark Chapman, the vehicle could end up becoming the first car to travel at 1,000mph “in as little as 10 months”, if the “right support” can be found in time.
The joint administrator Andrew Sheridan added: “While not an insignificant amount, the £25m 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. This is an opportunity for the right investor to leave a lasting legacy.”
Though the project’s primary aim was to surpass the speed record set by Thrust SSC in 1997, the Bloodhound initiative also had an educational element to it. The programme has been used to inspire the next generation of technicians and engineers, and encourage more young people to pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field.
The administration announcement comes just months after Booodhound issued a statement declaring that its ability to raise funds was “about to be transformed”. In May 2018, the team said lengthy discussions with a “major third party” would “greatly enhance Bloodhound’s ability to raise funds and achieve its goals“.