The Bloodhound Land Speed Record project is looking for a new owner after its chief exec, Ian Warhurst, confirmed the vehicle is up for sale.
A lengthy journey marked by stops and starts seemed to have come to an end back in 2018 when Warhurst snapped up the assets of Bloodhound. A fresh injection of cash meant the team were able to take the Eurofighter EJ200-propelled car out to the test track at Hakskeenpan in South Africa in 2019. Driver Andy Green subsequently took Bloodhound LSR up to 628mph (1,010kph) by the end of that year.
The next step was to fit the Nammo monopropellant rocket in order to get the vehicle up to the ultimate target of 1,000mph.
By March 2020, the team had the begging bowl out once again in order to get cracking on the upgrades ahead of an attempt this year. The goal was to have raised the funds by the end of the month.
Alas, it was not to be. "The project has inevitably been held back by the effects of the Covid-19 global pandemic," admitted the team. The opportunity to run again in 2021 was lost, and mere months remain to raise the £8m needed to complete the rocket installation ahead of another trip to South Africa in 2022, this time with the goal of exceeding 800mph.
Once the aerodynamic performance has been assessed, and the modelling validated, the team will have a better handle of what tweaks are needed to hit the ultimate target of 1,000mph.
The EJ200 does not have the power to go to 800mph, hence the hydrogen peroxide-powered rocket motor.
Additional funds are needed: "Along with many other things," Warhurst explained, "the global pandemic wrecked this opportunity in 2020 which has left the project unfunded and delayed by a further 12 months.
"At this stage, in absence of further, immediate, funding, the only options remaining are to close down the programme or put the project up for sale to allow me to pass on the baton and allow the team to continue the project.
"This gives someone with the right passion and available funding to effectively swoop in at the last minute and take the prize," he added.
A representative for the project told The Register that while £8m was needed to complete the project, the price for the vehicle itself was "negotiable." The Bloodhound LSR car is currently stored in the team's Gloucestershire workshop, and although the team itself has moved on to other projects, they would return if and when finances were put in place.
With the fortunes of many in the tech world continuing to surge, perhaps one or more might fancy throwing a little cash toward Bloodhound LSR. The engineering involved is certainly more inspiring than some of the projects on which UK lawmakers have been splashing cash of late.
Otherwise this dog might really have had its day. ®