The Chinese automaker steps in as lead sponsor, still on course for fall 2017 record attempt.
The Bloodhound land speed record project has been saved by a much-needed funding boost from Chinese automaker Geely. The three-year agreement should see the project through to its ultimate aims of reaching 1,000 miles per hour (1.600 kilometres per hour).
The project began in 2008 and steadily progressed through the initial design, development, and build stages. Momentum picked up through 2014 and 2015, the Bristol, England-based team finalizing the design and completing a trial build. The Bloodhound SSC rocket car made a hugely popular public debut in London last September, but the project came to a halt as funding ran dry.
In August of this year the deal with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group - which owns Volvo - was struck, safeguarding the future of the project. Test runs and systems checks are scheduled to take place in the U.K. early next year, before the whole operation heads out to the Hakskeen Pan in South Africa in the fall for a first attempt to break the land speed record.
Driver Andy Green will attempt to reach 800 mph (1,300 km/h), which would beat his own existing land speed record by 37 mph (59 km/h). If the team is successful, it will return to shoot for the 1,000 mph barrier, but a timeframe has not yet been set out for that.
Geely’s deal with Bloodhound includes both financial and technical support. It will also see Bloodhound’s education program extend to China. The Bloodhound roadshow has already toured five continents, while 5,500 U.K. schools and others in 10 countries have taken part in the Model Rocket Car Challenge.
Bloodhound SSC is powered by an EJ200 jet engine usually found in the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter plane, and a Nammo hybrid rocket. There’s a supercharged Jaguar V8 engine, as well, acting as the rocket’s fuel pump.
Bloodhound project director, Richard Noble said: “We could not have a better partner than Geely; not only are they an international technology company with tremendous vision and capability, they share our passion for innovation and education. Their support means we can now plan next year’s record-breaking challenge with confidence.”