Here we go again. The team behind Bloodhound LSR, a British car designed to set the world land speed record, is looking for a new benefactor. The current owner, Ian Warhurst, saved the project from financial ruin in December 2018. In a press release, the Bloodhound team explained that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, combined with the turbulent UK economy, has “severely impacted the search for fundraising” and, as a consequence, the timeline for completing the world record attempt.
And that’s a problem. Warhurst took on the project with enough financing to complete some test runs in South Africa. These took place in October and November 2019, in which Bloodhound hit 628 mph. The team hoped that this milestone, combined with a flurry of media coverage — which included a documentary on the UK’s Channel 4 — would galvanize interest and, ultimately, attract new financing. Clearly, that money never came. “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 explained.
It’s another difficult setback. Bloodhound’s test runs were completed using a Eurojet EJ200 jet engine. While impressive, it needs to be paired with a monopropellant rocket to beat the land speed record, which currently stands at 763MPH, and reach the team’s ultimate goal of 1,000 mph. The Bloodhound crew estimate that it needs another £8 million ($11 million) to complete the rocket installation and take the vehicle back to South Africa. That means a simple Patreon, Kickstarter or GoFundMe campaign isn’t going to cut it.
If someone takes it on, however, the Bloodhound team is confident that the project will “recoup increasingly large amounts” through sponsorship and rights sales. “We’re now raring to get to 800MPH [and beyond],” said Bloodhound’s driver, RAF Wing Commander Andy Green, “to showcase this technical marvel and to invite a global audience to join in an incredibly exciting adventure. After the horrible 2020 pandemic year we have all just experienced, the world needs a good news story, and Bloodhound is ready to deliver it.”
Written by Nick Summers for Engadget.