The Bloodhound land speed record project is seemingly over after it was announced that the company behind it has entered administration.
Bloodhound Programme Ltd was founded back in 2007 with the aim of cracking the 1000 mph barrier. It was set to attempt the milestone on a dried-out lake bed in South Africa in 2020 after a planned 500 mph run next year. Initial 200 mph runway testing first took place in October 2017 in Cornwall.
Wing commander Andy Green was tapped to drive the Bloodhound supersonic car for both runs. Air force pilot Green previously drove the ThrustSSC to a land speed record in 1997. Bloodhound project director Richard Noble was also behind Thrust SSC.
The cost of the project has grown continuously over the last decade – a 2010 BBC report said the ‘process of researching, designing and building the car alone’ was set to cost £6.6 million, but a more recent figure from the project suggested a figure of £60 million. However, while the jet-powered car is close to being completed, the project reportedly needs another £25 million to complete the project and attempt the record.
To put that into comparison, the ThrustSSC from over two decades ago reportedly cost ‘just’ £2.8 million, which is approximately £5 million today when inflation is factored in.
“Bloodhound is a truly ground-breaking project which has already built a global audience and helped to inspire a new generation of STEM talent in the UK and across the world,” said Andrew Sheridan, joint administrator. “Entering into administration provides some breathing space to identify an investor who will bring the guaranteed funding, impetus and expertise required to drive the project forward.”
“Whilst 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,” he added. “This is an opportunity for the right investor to leave a lasting legacy. We are already in discussion with a number of potential investors and would encourage any other interested party to contact us without delay.”
The privately-funded project has relied on donations, sponsorship and partnerships to get it this far. A number of engineering firms got onboard with the project as it looked to get children interested in science and engineering. So far it has reached over two million children, including 120,000 UK schoolchildren each year. The educational side of the venture is said to be unaffected by the administration due to its position as a registered charity.