1,000-MPH Bloodhound SSC Land Speed Record Program Saved From Administration

Though delayed by months, Bloodhound is now back on track after a major cash infusion.

byJames Gilboy|
Racing photo

It was announced Monday that Bloodhound Programme Limited and its assets have been purchased, securing a future for the land speed record program.

Identified as the buyer was a British engineer and businessman by the name of Ian Warhurst, owner of turbocharger manufacturer Melett. In addition to funding, Bloodhound says Warhurst's engineering background will aid in getting the delayed land speed record campaign back on track.

Bloodhound first hiccuped in October, when cash reserves ran low and an infusion of almost $33 million USD was required for Bloodhound's further development, testing, and operation. Funds depleted entirely in December, putting the jet- and rocket-propelled Bloodhound SSC (Super Sonic Car) on the market for a £250,000 GBP ($318,000 USD) pittance. Current land speed record holder and pilot-to-be of the Bloodhound SSC Andy Green pled in December for the project's continuation.

"If somebody is out there with a quarter of a million, there is a car there. There is still a chance that Bloodhound could run," Green told the BBC. "As far as Christmas presents go, that's the one I'd like."

Its financial crisis forced the team into administration, wherein an independent arbitrator sought the most well-heeled buyer possible for both the team and its assets. Andrew Sheridan, administrator for the sale of Bloodhound, told the BBC that Ian Warhurst's buyout of the program (whose price was undisclosed) was also backed by Britain's Ministry of Defence as well as partial project financier and aerospace firm Rolls-Royce, whose experimental XG-40 turbofan served as the basis for the Eurojet EJ200 engine that propels the Bloodhound SSC.

Though delayed by its funding troubles, Sheridan projected in October that Bloodhound could achieve its ultimate goal of raising the land speed record bar from the current 763.035 mph to over 1,000 mph in a matter of 10 months with enough cash flow. If Sheridan is correct, we may see the Bloodhound SSC thunder down the 11-mile stretch of open land already prepared for the top speed run in South Africa as soon as October of 2019. Given the Bloodhound project's history of ambitious scheduling, however, tempering your expectations for a run in 2020 or beyond may be wise.