Fans keen to see the Bloodhound land speed record attempt finally come to fruition will be disappointed to learn that the whole project has now been axed. The reason? A lack of funds. Because despite this being one of the greatest engineering stories to come out of Britain in years, the project's leaders - and more recently, administrators - have been unable to secure the £25 million required to take Bloodhound from its 2017 200mph test to the 1,000mph record breaking run that was scheduled for 2020.
Ever hopeful pairing Richard Noble and Andy Green - no less than the former and current land speed record holders - have not given up the fight and are said to be working behind the scenes to secure a future for their jet-powered car. But as things stand, the Bloodhound project has been completely written off. For good.
This is a massive shame. Those who've been following Bloodhound's progress since the project was announced a decade ago will know just how hard a job the team behind it has faced. Launching a costly project right at the start of a global economic crisis was always going to be a challenge, but few would disagree that Bloodhound's had more than its fair share of setbacks.
Last year, the car finally completed a 200mph run at Newquay Airport, following some much needed investment from Chinese automotive giant Geely. But the project required another £5m to complete the following 500-600mph test on an 11-mile track in South Africa, and a further £15m to achieve 800mph, which would break the existing record. To reach its ultimate goal of 1,000mph, Bloodhound would need the full £25m.
This means Bloodhound had not even reached the halfway point in its schedule, yet the project has already engaged with an estimated two million students, promoting careers in related STEM industries. You may have thought that this alone would have convinced a major company or wealthy individual to back such a great British story. But no, even those normally associated with supporting such publicity-generating schemes - say, Red Bull, or a certain Mr Branson - have seemingly remained silent.
Sadly, the time to save Bloodhound is tight, as Andrew Sheridan, an administrator at FRP Advisory (which successfully secured a future for the Force India Formula 1 team earlier this year), has told the BBC: "Despite overwhelming public support, and engagement with a wide range of potential and credible investors, it has not been possible to secure a purchaser for the business and assets," he said. "We will now work with the key stakeholders to return the third-party equipment and then sell the remaining assets of the company to maximise the return for creditors."
PH crowd-funding campaign, anyone?