Bloodhound LSR Needs New Owner to Shatter Records at More Than 800 MPH

The land-speed world-record breaker of tomorrow needs a new owner for the post-coronavirus economy.
Brad Bergan

The Bloodhound Land Speed Record project is looking for a new owner to carry the record-breaking team to a world land speed record in 2022, according to a press release shared with Interesting Engineering (IE) under embargo.

While the initial goal is to set a new land speed world record at more than 800 mph (1,287 km/h), the ultimate goal is to clear 1,000 mph (1,609 km/h).


Bloodhound Land Speed Record Project seeks new owner, to break 800+ MPH

The Bloodhound team deployed in South Africa in 2019 to perform high-speed tests of the most advanced straight-line racing car ever built.

The car shattered the test target-speed of 500 mph — with a peak speed of 628 mph (1,011 km/h) — proving the computer modeling system used to design the car, in addition to the initiative's capacity to break land-speed records.

Bloodhound Specs
The Bloodhound car aims to shatter the land speed record at 1,000 mph. Source: Bloodhound Land Speed Record

Bloodhound's driver broke the last land-speed record

Called the Bloodhound LSR Car, the vehicle is a mean combination of fast jet, F1 car, and spacecraft. At full speed, the Bloodhound LSR zips across on an entire mile (1.6 km) in 3.6 seconds — 4.5 soccer (U.K. football) pitches placed end-to-end, per seconds — 492 ft (150 m) in the blink of an eye.

The world's land speed record of 763 mph (1,228 km/h is at present held by Thrust SSC — set in 1997 when a U.K. team under the leadership of Richard Noble, but with Andy Green (who now drives the Bloodhound) in the driver's seat.

Andy Green Tip of Bloodhound
The driver inspecting the nose of the supersonic car. Source: Bloodhound Land Speed Record

Racing to an astounding 1,000-MPH target

The target now is to shatter the world's land speed record — which is precisely 763.035 mph. This will verify the success of the Bloodhound car's aerodynamic and performance modeling, and allow the team to study how the car reacts to transonic speeds and then plateaus at supersonic speeds.

Once the Bloodhound team completes the 800 mph program, it will then have the necessary data to enhance the Bloodhound car, so it can rocket past the ultimate target of 1,000 mph.

Rolls-Royce jet engine, eco-friendly rocket motor

A cutting-edge Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine powers the car, with a next-gen rocket motor integrated into the structure. The jet engine is conventionally found in a Eurofighter Typhoon, and generates a peak thrust of 20,000 lbs (90 kilonewtons) — equal to 54,000 thrust horsepower, or the combined power output of 360 family-sized cars, according to the embargoed press release, shared with IE.

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Incredibly, the jet doesn't have the power needed to propel the car to 800 mph. This is why the Bloodhound team also attached a rocket motor capable of burning 2,204 lbs (1,000 kg) of concentrated hydrogen peroxide (also called HTP for "high-test" oxide) in roughly 20 seconds.

An all-electric pump system will push the fuel through the engine, generating more than 10,000 lbs (45 kilonewtons) of thrust — launching the car from 400 to more than 800 mph in a mere 20 seconds.

Notably, this rocket system is the most ecologically-friendly powerplant in the history of land speed records — more than capable of blasting the car down a column of hypersonic superheated oxygen and steam.

Bloodhound Driver Andy Green
Bloodhound's driver, Andy Green, broke a previous land-speed record in 1997. Source: Bloodhound Land Speed Record

Bloodhound project could recoup vast funding

A new Nammo monopropellant rocket will soon see installation, which will increase the top speed of the supersonic car to 800 mph (1,287 km/h). Once more, the record-breaking car will then make its run on a customized 12-mile (19.2-km) dry lake bed race track — built in Hakskeen Pan, on the Northern Cape of South Africa.

However, it will cost nearly $11 million (£8 million) to finish rocket installation and transport the car to South Africa for its 800 mph run. But with an established presence — including a 2020 Channel 4 documentary called "Building the World's Fastest Car," the project has high fundraising expectations as the record attempt approaches.

The Bloodhound project also expects to recoup massive amounts of funding via sponsorship and rights sales as the program continues — which makes it an enticing investment for interested parties.

Bloodhound for sale after COVID-19 economic downturn

Bloodhound LSR's present Chief Executive and owner Ian Warhurst is stepping down from his role as leader of the project — which means the vehicle is now for sale. He bought the car at the end of 2018, after which the team completed its high-speed test program in South Africa.

Sadly, due to the current economic situation amid the global pandemic, his search for additional fundraising pushed back the project timeline. This is why Warhurst wants someone else to take the financial reigns of the project. Whoever it is, they'll buy the keys to a high-speed car capable of record-breaking speeds of 800 mph, or more.

"It has been a privilege to lead this team of world-class engineers over the past two years," said Warhurst of his departure. "I was spellbound — along with a huge audience around the world — as we tested the car up to 600+ mph in South Africa."

Bloodhound Team
The Bloodhound team stands poised to launch the next 'engineering adventure.' Source: Bloodhound Land Speed Record

Departing Bloodhound owner laments COVID-19 fallout

"When I committed to take the car high-speed testing in 2019, I allocated enough funding to achieve this goal on the basis that alternative funding would then allow us to continue [the] record attempts," added Warhurst. "Along with many other things, 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 program 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," Warhurst said. "I will, of course, be cheering from the side-lines when Bloodhound smashes through 800 mph."

Bloodhound poised for relaunch after COVID-19 crisis

Nearly every up-and-coming project in the world was suffered downturns amid the COVID-19 crisis. But now, with multiple vaccines circulating down the tiers of priority, work on several paused projects may soon restart at maximum speeds.

In the next several months, the Bloodhound team needs to prepare for a serious 2022 record-breaking attempt. Without new investment, the car will likely go into long-term storage, with little to no guarantee the project could ever restart. As the horizon of the coronavirus crisis edges closer, the Bloodhound team is ready for a new owner to step up and launch them on the next engineering adventure.

"In my opinion, the Bloodhound team has built the best Land Speed Record Car ever," said Bloodhound driver Andy Green, in the embargoed press release shared with IE. "It made our 628 mph test run look easy! We're now raring to get to 800 mph+, to showcase this technical marvel and to invite a global audience to join in an incredibly exciting adventure."

"After the horrible 2020 pandemic year we have all just experienced," the world needs an inspirational story of exceeding the physical limits of day-to-day life, Green explained in the embargoed press release.

"Bloodhound is ready to deliver it," said Green.

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