The first test runs of the Bloodhound SSC world speed record project have been delayed due to funding issues. In a recent announcement from the team, Project Director Richard Noble said that new partnerships have been established with other deals still being considered. However, none of these relationships will bear fruit in time to make the team’s original target date for the record run, which was supposed to happen later this year.
“Interest from big brands is, if anything, increasing as we get closer to running,” said Noble. “While this is undoubtedly good news there is inevitably a time delay between pledges of support, contracts being signed and cash arriving. Anyone who runs their own business will be familiar with this and the need to be pragmatic when planning.”
The new plan is to attempt a record run at the Hakskeen Pan in Africa’s Kalahari desert at some point in the second half of 2018. In the meantime, the team will continue to tweak and develop the Bloodhound’s monopropellant rocket to generate more power. There are concerns that, as the supersonic jet/rocket car transitions from theoretical calculations to a fully functional machine, unexpected weight increases could cause it to underperform. Because, you know, they’ve only been working on this for a decade.
The Bloodhound SSC uses an EJ200 afterburning turbofan jet engine borrowed from a Eurofighter Typhoon as its primary power source. A monopropellant rocket will also be used to help push the car past the sound barrier. A supercharged Jaguar V8 engine is used just to supply fuel to the rocket.
Provided all goes according to plan, The Bloodhound SSC will first reach 800 miles per hour in 2018, smashing the previous record of 763.035 mph set by the same team with their earlier Thrust SSC jet car. Following that run, the monopropellant rocket will be replaced with a rocket cluster and the team will attempt 1,000 miles per hour, or MACH 1.4.
“It is frustrating to change our schedule again – we know everyone is excited about seeing the car run,” said Noble. “We want that too but our pace of development has to be pegged to the flow of funding.”
AN UPDATE ON TIMINGS
Our goal this year is to test BLOODHOUND SSC on the runway at Newquay Aerohub. We will announce the target date in due course but it will follow-on from static ‘tie-down’ tests of the EJ200 jet, installed in the car, which we hope to conduct this summer.
There is also further development work to be done on our monopropellant rocket as we have increased the power output required from it. This to provide an additional performance margin should the weight of the complete, fully fueled car increase compared to earlier estimates. This can easily happen as a design that has evolved over many years makes its way from the virtual world of Computer Aided Design to the real world of the racetrack. The engineering team is choosing to be cautious now so we don’t lose time – or under perform – when we’re in the desert.
As you may have seen from our earlier updates, here and on social media, Hakskeen Pan flooded in January and then again this month. Allowing for similar events next year, and building in time to make final preparations to the track, we expect our advance party to deploy to the Kalahari in summer 2018.
We will begin our first World Land Speed Record campaign in the second half of 2018.
A Note from Richard Noble, Project Director
It is frustrating to change our schedule again – we know everyone is excited about seeing the car run. We want that too but our pace of development has to be pegged to the flow of funding.
We enjoy terrific support from the public (34,800 of whom have now paid to put their name on the tail fin, for example) and have a strong track record when it comes to fundraising with major sponsors. Interest from big brands is, if anything, increasing as we get closer to running: we have recently agreed new partnerships with a global IT company and a leading fashion brand, which we look forward to announcing soon. A number of other substantial deals are also in negotiation.
While this is undoubtedly good news there is inevitably a time delay between pledges of support, contracts being signed and cash arriving. Anyone who runs their own business will be familiar with this and the need to be pragmatic when planning.
However, temporary delays do not change our direction of travel! 2017 will be a milestone year for The BLOODHOUND Project and we are determined to be out in South Africa, challenging records, next year.
We will keep you updated and continue to be grateful for the extraordinary enthusiasm and support shown by all our friends and followers around the world. We look forward to you being with us as we embark on the next and most exciting phase of this Engineering Adventure.