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1,000-mph Bloodhound supersonic car project finds a last-minute savior

Bloodhound SSC
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A British effort to build a 1,000-mph car recently shut down due to lack of funds. The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) was put up for sale at an asking price of $319,000, according to the BBC. But the car and Bloodhound’s other assets have been purchased by a British businessman, meaning the project could still have a future.

The Bloodhound team aimed to beat the existing world speed record for a car, which currently stands at 763 mph. The Bloodhound car performed test runs at about 210 mph, and team selected a location for the record attempt: South Africa’s Hakskeen Pan. But the team ran out of money, and went into bankruptcy administration.

An administrator had planned to sell off the car and Bloodhound’s other assets piecemeal, but everything was bought as a package by Ian Warhurst. A mechanical engineer by training, Warhurst has operated businesses related to automotive engineering.

“I have been overwhelmed by the level of interest and messages of goodwill following the news that I have bought Bloodhound,” Warhurst said in a statement. “It’s clear how much this unique British project means to people, all around the world. My family and I have been supporters too for many years and I am delighted to have been able to safeguard the business and assets.”

Getting the Bloodhound SSC running will take millions of dollars, Andy Green, the car’s driver, told the BBC. Green, a retired British Royal Air Force pilot, set the current world speed record in 1997 in Thrust SSC. He hoped not only to beat his own record, but to become the first driver to go 1,000 mph in a car.

To do that, Bloodhound SSC required a cartoonish amount of horsepower. The car used the Rolls-Royce Eurojet EJ200 engine from a Eurofighter Typhoon jet fighter, as well as three Nucleus rocket motors from defense firm Nammo. All of that added up to an estimated 135,000 horsepower.

The Bloodhound team previously planned to do a test run at 500 to 600 mph at the Hakskeen Pan in late 2019. The South African government had reportedly begun prepping the site, according to the BBC. If things went according to plan, the first full-speed runs would have been made in 2020 or 2021.

The Bloodhound project proved popular with the public, and was supported by companies like Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls-Royce (the aviation firm, not the car company), Geely, and Rolex. But organizers simply weren’t able to raise enough money to keep the project going before Warhurst intervened.

However, another team is attempting to break the world land-speed record. Australia’s Aussie Invader is developing a rocket-powered car called 5R that will reportedly boast about 200,000 hp. But Aussie Invader hasn’t finished building its car, and is itself still seeking funding. The team is even offering individuals who donate to the project the opportunity to have their photo plastered onto the car.

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Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
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