Bloodhound SSC project enters administration

Breaking a land speed record is never a straightforward endeavour, but the difficulty extends far beyond the challenge of engineering a vehicle capable of such immense speeds. Following its successful 200mph run at Newquay Airport last year, news that a planned 500mph run on Bloodhound's Hakskeen Pan drag strip had been pushed back to 2019 didn't necessarily look like a harbinger of things to come. Now, though, it seems that it is the financial side of the British record attempt that is proving problematic, rather than the physical one.

It is believed that for the Bloodhound SSC to hit that 500mph speed in South Africa would cost the team in the region of £5 million. To reach 800mph requires £15 million and, to succeed in its goal of breaking the 1,000mph barrier, a total of £25 million is needed. Needless to say, these sums are far more than the team currently has available, and beyond the reach of even the most well intentioned of crowdfunding campaigns.

They needn't, however, be so overwhelming to investors when viewed in context. As Andrew Sheridan, Partner at administrator FRP Advisory puts it, "the £25m Bloodhound requires to break the land speed record is a fraction of the cost of, for example, finishing last in an F1 season, or running an America's Cup team. This is an opportunity for the right investor to leave a lasting legacy."

Despite its current predicament, the Bloodhound team remains positive about its future. "We wouldn't choose to be in this position," one insider told Autocar, "but we're greatly encouraged by the behaviour of the administrator. They recognise that we're unique, and that we've already built a great deal of global exposure. They say they wouldn't take us on if they weren't confident of a good outcome. The dream scenario is that we'll be in this state for a month or six weeks, then money will flow again and we can get back into action. We're ready to go."

Should investment be found, the team, lead by former land-speed record holder Richard Noble, would need around 10 months to ready itself for its first South African runs. Currently just 5 members strong, around three times that number would be required for the 500mph attempt, with closer to 40 people needed to break the 1,000mph barrier.

Luckily, Sheridan seems confident, describing Bloodhound as, "a truly groundbreaking project that has built a global audience and helped inspire a new generation of STEM talent in the UK" he added, "we are already in discussion with a number of potential investors and would encourage any other interested party to contact us without delay." Fingers crossed that a solution can be found, it'd be an awful shame never to see the Bloodhound take its shot at the record books.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (259) Join the discussion on the forum

  • matbat 15 Oct 2018

    I really hope this can be saved.

    Would be fantastic to see it achieve its target speed.

  • SydneyBridge 15 Oct 2018

    agree, hope they can get the money from lots of people or one company/person

    would be amazing for them and for the country to break the record- assuming they can obviously...

  • Chuck328 15 Oct 2018

    Really hope this can be saved. They have come so far.

    Surely some multi millionaire philanthropist petrol head can help out?

  • Macboy 15 Oct 2018

    It does seem surprising that the project could simply stop so close to (and yet so far away from) it's goal despite the backing of some pretty serious sponsors. Were they just hoping they'd uncover a huge pile of cash underneath desert when they got to South Africa? Have they miscalculated the development and the amount they've received in sponsorship is nowhere near enough? It seems that despite the public engagement activities this hasn't been managed well - the recent America's Cup challengers haven't been wound up before the boat races. I wonder why this project has proven to be so different?

  • sdiggle 15 Oct 2018

    My son's name is on the tail..somewhere.

    Anyone have a spare £25m? Such a shame is this doesn't happen. 1000 mph probably wouldn't be beaten in my lifetime.

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