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Bloodhound back on track

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The Bloodhound SSC went into administration in October and earlier this month administrators said efforts to secure an investor had failed and the project would be scrapped

The Bloodhound Land Speed Record (LSR) team has announced that they are firmly back on track for a world land speed record. The car is seen here in its new red and white livery. Picture: Supplied

THE BLOODHOUND Land Speed Record (LSR) team announced last week that they were firmly back on track for a world land speed record.

Project Bloodhound was founded in 2007 and aims to hit speeds of 1 000mph at a specially built, 18km long, 1 500m wide race track at Hakskeen Pan.

The clay-covered Hakskeen Pan track, located about 250km north of Upington, has been under preparation over the past decade, and in that time over 16 000 tons of rock and stone has been removed by hand to smooth the surface.

However, the Bloodhound SSC went into administration in October and earlier this month administrators said efforts to secure an investor had failed and the project would be scrapped.

According to the LSR website, under the new ownership of Ian Warhurst, CEO of Grafton LSR Ltd, the freshly assembled Bloodhound LSR team will focus on completing development of the jet- and rocket-powered car and moving to the next phase of the programme – high speed testing – as soon as possible.

According to the website, the Bloodhound LSR car’s bare red and white livery is likely to change once the sponsorship team’s discussions over title branding opportunities with interested parties reach fruition. The iconic blue and orange livery from the R&D phase will live on in photos and film.

Grafton LSR commercial director Ewen Honeyman said: “With Warhurst providing the cash flow to keep the project on track, Bloodhound LSR is a very different sponsorship proposition to the blue and orange car. We’re already having detailed discussions with a number of organisations about exciting new sponsorship possibilities, as well as talking to those involved in the previous phase of the programme.”

The website further stated that the new name, Bloodhound LSR, accompanies a complete rebranding of the programme. This includes a visual transformation of the car, which was revealed in a new striking red and white livery as she moves into her new home at SGS Berkeley Green University Technical College (UTC) on the Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park.

Warhurst, speaking at the opening of the new livery and headquarters, said: “Since buying Bloodhound from the administrators last December, the team and I have been overwhelmed by the passion and enthusiasm the public has shown for the project. Over the last decade, an incredible amount of hard graft has been invested in the project and it would be a tragedy to see it go to waste.

“Starting with a clean slate, it’s my ambition to let Bloodhound off the leash and see just how fast this car can go. I’ve been reviewing the project and I’m confident there is a commercial business proposition to support it. I’ll provide robust financing to ensure there is cash flow to hit the high-speed testing deadlines we set ourselves.”

The Bloodhound LSR team is headed up by Warhurst. He is joined by driver and current world land speed record holder Andy Green, engineering director Mark Chapman, chief financial officer Rick Sturge, operations director Martyn Davidson, commercial director Ewen Honeyman, and many of the original mechanics and technicians, providing continuity from the old programme to the new.

Former CEO Bloodhound Programme Ltd Richard Noble, said: “It was a very hard fight to create the Bloodhound car, the largest STEM programme in the UK, the public engagement programme and the 1 000 man year desert preparation. Our weakness has always been finance and now after administration, with Warhurst the team finally has the financial support it needs to drive forward with confidence and achieve what we set out to do nearly 12 years ago.”

– Staff Reporter