Bloodhound LSR.
Bloodhound LSR. Source Bloodhound LSR.
  • The clock is ticking for the Bloodhound Land Speed Record team that needs to come up with R157 million by the end of March.
  • Ian Warhurst, who owns the Bloodhound car that's being built to go beyond 1,290km/h, says new money must come into the project or it will be wound up, reports the BBC.
  • The team reached a top speed of 1 010km/h in the Kalahari Desert last year during trials, while powered only by a EJ200 jet engine from Rolls Royce.
  • It now needs to be equipped with a rocket that is designed to help send small satellites up into space.
  • For more, go to Business Insider's home page.


The UK-led Bloodhound land speed record (LSR) project attempt, being made on a salt pan on South African soil, could blow a flat as time runs out for funding.

The clock is ticking for the Bloodhound Land Speed Record team that needs to come up with £8 million (R157 million) to secure a world land speed record attempt in 2021, by no later than end of March 2020. 

This is not the first time the project has come close to being canned. In 2018, the Bloodhound project entered administration after running out of money, after 11 years of development. At the time its administrators estimated it required £25 million – nearly half a billion rand – to stay afloat, and nobody was putting up that kind of money.

Ian Warhurst, who owns the Bloodhound car that's being built to go beyond 1 290km/h, says new money must come into the project or it will be wound up, reports the BBC.

According to the team they need to get the funding and target a 2021 weather window on the Hakskeen Pan, located in the Kalahari Desert in the Northern Cape, where the Bloodhound was trialled in October last year.

The 2021 window is extremely important as the rocket’s oxidiser, consisting of concentrated hydrogen peroxide, must be stored at cool temperatures. Whilst relatively inert at temperatures around 20°C – typical winter temperatures for July, August in the Northern Cape, South Africa, it becomes volatile if temperature rises above 50°C.

“If we miss our cool weather window in July and August, temperatures in the Kalahari will make running a rocket untenable next year,” said Ian Warhurst, Bloodhound’s CEO, during which time the team experienced 44°C during their visit last October.

Source Google Maps.
Hakskeen Pan. Source Google Maps.

The team reached a top speed of 1 010km/h in the Kalahari Desert last year during trials, while powered only by a EJ200 jet engine from Rolls Royce.

The Bloodhound is now back at the operations HQ in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom, and has been split apart for cleaning inspection and maintenance.

In order to break the land speed record, the Bloodhound needs to reach speeds of 1,290km/h. It will now need a state-of-the art rocket to run in addition to its EJ200 jet engine. The rocket is pitched to be sourced from Norwegian rocket specialist Nammo, part of a research programme for the European Space Agency.

The same Nammo rocket is designed to be used as a launch motor to put small satellites (known as ‘cubesats’) into space, with zero-emissions.

The Bloodhound is to be propelled by steam using a ‘monopropellant’ design that uses concentrated hydrogen peroxide (water with an extra oxygen molecule – H2O2) as the propellant.

The Hydrogen peroxide is pumped at high pressure through silver gauze, which acts as a catalyst, causing it to decompose (split apart) into super-heated steam (600°C) and oxygen.

 “The project remains dormant whilst we try to secure the funding but at a cost of tens of thousands per month of overheads, and the threat that we miss the weather window next year, we cannot remain dormant for long,” said Warhurst.

Complied by Jay Caboz

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