If you’re in the market for a used car, then how about the rocket-powered Bloodhound? OK, the $11 million price tag may be prohibitive, but just think of how many heads it’ll turn on the commute to work.
The ambitious project to build the world’s fastest car has hit the buffers (again) as the current owner seeks funds to keep alive the prospect of an attempt at the land speed record.
Bloodhound’s most recent outing took place in southern Africa’s Kalahari desert in 2019 in a run that pushed the supersonic vehicle to a breathtaking 628 mph (1,011 kph), thanks to the power of its Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine — the type also used by Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft. The test run set the team up nicely for a 2020 effort to smash the current car speed record of 763 mph (1,228 kph), but then the pandemic struck, upending the plan. And now it needs $11 million to keep going.
The U.K.-based Bloodhound project, which started life in 2008, has been here before. Three years ago, the dream of setting a new speed record was about to die when the current owner, British businessman Ian Warhurst, stepped in with a sizable cash injection. But now Warhurst himself says he’s taken the project as far as he can, and is calling for more funds to keep it going.
An article explaining the situation says the project needs 8 million British pounds ($11 million) for the installation of the Nammo monopropellant rocket that will enable the Bloodhound car to go beyond 800 mph (1,287 kph). The money would also be enough to secure a land speed record attempt on the team’s specially prepared 12-mile (19.2 km) dry lake bed race track at Hakskeen Pan in the Kalahari desert sometime in 2022.
Commenting on his involvement in the Bloodhound project, Warhurst said: “It has been a privilege to lead this team of world-class engineers over the past two years. I was spellbound — along with a huge audience around the world — as we tested the car up to 600-plus mph in South Africa.”
He said the plan had always been for him to allocate enough money to take the project to the next level, but said the pandemic had impacted funding opportunities and also disrupted the timeline.
“At this stage, in absence of further, immediate funding, the only options remaining are to close down the program or put the project up for sale to allow me to pass on the baton and allow the team to continue the project,” Warhurst said.
With so much effort having gone into the project, it would be a real shame to see it collapse now. For sure, $11 million is a lot of cash, but for some folks, it really is just a drop in the ocean. So, will anyone, in the words of Warhurst, “swoop in at the last minute and take the prize” and all the prestige of nailing a new land speed record? Hopefully, we’ll find out in the coming weeks.
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