Bad news for land-speed record fans as Bloodhound goes up for sale

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A missile car screaming across the desert.
Zoom in / Bloodhound LSR arrived in South Africa in 2019 to begin high-speed testing, but only with a single jet engine.

Bad news, ground speed recording fans: The project will set a new speed record of 1,000 mph (1,609 km / h) Once again in serious doubt. On Monday morning, the Bloodhound Land Speed ​​Record Project revealed that it is looking for a new owner to try to break the current record. Whoever gets involved will need very deep pockets, too – nearly $ 11 million (£ 8 million), in fact.

Trying to set a new land speed record is perhaps one of the most difficult activities one could engage in. You need to design and build a vehicle that is capable of Going faster than 763 mph (1,228 km / h)Twice within an hour. You need to find a spot that’s flat enough to operate the vehicle, most likely away from neighbors who might be bothered by the sound of the screens smashing windows. And while this all sounds like a serious challenge, perhaps the biggest problem is finding the money to make it all happen.

Bloodhound LSR – previously known as Bloodhound SSC – definitely has the pedigree for a record-breaking. It was the brainchild of Richard Noble, who was also the mastermind of the last two successful attempts to record Earth’s speed. (Noble was behind the wheel on a 1982 record.) Chief aerodynamic expert Ron Ayers is a veteran who designed the Thrust SSC before Bloodhound. The project identified and prepared 8.5 square miles (22 square kilometers) of Haskin Pan in South Africa for the attempt.

If all went well – and I mean everything financing – Bloodhound might have broken the 1,000 mph all the way back in 2016, Two years after I first looked at the project. But in 2018, The scheme seemed to be overEntry of management (UK equivalent bankruptcy) yet Having reached 210 mph (338 km / h) only on the low speed test On a UK listed.

2019 has been a good year for Bloodhound. have found New owner That saved her from life as a museum artifact, and Until they reached South Africa To start the high-speed test. although It was only equipped with its Rolls Royce EJ200 jet engine, Bloodhound still reached 628 mph (1,010 kilometers per hour) that year.

But moving forward faster would require integration of the other propellant source into Bloodhound, a monoblock missile manufactured by Nammo (a Norwegian airline and defense company). The cost to do that and then to run the test program to set a new record would require about $ 11 million, according to current owner Ian Warhurst. He said in a statement:

When I committed to taking a high-speed test of the car in 2019, I allocated sufficient funding to meet this goal with the understanding that alternative financing would then allow us to continue with standard attempts. Along with many other things, the global pandemic shattered this opportunity in 2020 leaving the project unfunded and delayed for another 12 months. At this point, in the absence of more immediate funding, the only options left are to close the program or put the project up for sale to let me pass the stick and let the team continue with the project.

With so many billionaires spending so many billions on their own rockets, you might think one of them might be able to find $ 11 million behind the sofa to help make more history.

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