It has been announced that the Bloodhound world speed-record car project is to be disbanded with the third-party goods being returned to the various donors and sponsors. It is hard not to see this as a bit of a British-style end to what could have been a marvellous engineering showcase. It must be a great disappointment to all those who have worked on the project over the last few years.
A summary of the project is provided on the team website:
“Project Bloodhound was founded in 2007 and aims to hit speeds of 1000 mph at a specially built, 18km long, 1500m wide race track at Hakskeen Pan in the deserts of the Northern Cape of South Africa.
In addition to seeking to break the land speed world record, the project is a major R&D catalyst and the focal point for a STEM education campaign which has reached over 2 million children since its launch, including 120,000 UK schoolchildren per year.
To date the project has operated on a partnership and sponsorship model, with support from a variety of partners including Rolls Royce and Rolex as well as the Ministry of Defence which has lent prototype jet engines for the car, and the Northern Cape Provincial Government in South Africa, which has supported the creation of the track. Individual donations from members of the public have also supported the development of the car and the global education programme.
The project has already successfully built a viable racing car which has been tested to 200mph, whilst developing or testing propulsion, aerodynamic and telecommunications technologies with the potential for far reaching applications outside of the project. The team is now seeking around £25m in investment to provide guaranteed funding and see the project to completion.”
However, that £25m was not forthcoming, and in October of this year two Administrators were appointed. Their aims seem to have been to try and find the funding or to prepare to wind-up the project. Sadly the latter is now the case.
The website gives a feel for the potential the Bloodhound Project had to engage and promote engineering in this country and all around the world:
“BLOODHOUND is a combination of fast jet, F1 car and spaceship. The Project is followed in over 220 countries and territories. At full speed, BLOODHOUND will cover a mile (1.6km) in 3.6 seconds – that’s 4.5 football pitches laid end to end, per second, or 300m in the blink of an eye. The World Land Speed Record of 763mph (1,228km/h) is held by Thrust SSC, a UK team led by BLOODHOUND’s Project Director Richard Noble and driven by Andy Green.
The Project engaged with over 120,000 students in the UK alone in 2017 and aims to deliver BLOODHOUND Education inspiration to over 5m students each operational year. 65% of students engaged by the BLOODHOUND Education Programme would now consider engineering or science as a vocation (sample size: 1,804). Applications to study engineering at university have substantially increased as a result of Project BLOODHOUND (sources: University of West of England; Swansea University).”
Anyone with £25m out there might want to give the Administrators a call.