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Bloodhound Land Speed Record car to test in South Africa this October

Bloodhound Land Speed Record car to test in South Africa this October Photo: Bloodhound LSR

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The Bloodhound Land Speed Record project has confirmed its plans to run the Bloodhound LSR car for the first time on its dry lake bed race track in South Africa next month [October 2019].

Final tests were carried out today [September 30] and the car will be sent off to the Kalahari desert next week.

Following successful 200mph UK runway trials at Cornwall Airport Newquay in October 2017, the team will be targeting 500mph – a key milestone on the journey to setting a new world land speed record.

Plans to break the land speed record were left in tatters after the company behind the original 'Bloodhound supersonic car', based in Avonmouth, went into administration in October 2018.

The project was then saved when millionaire entrepreneur Ian Warhurst stepped in just two months later to kick-start Bloodhound.

Bloodhound, in its old blue and orange livery, reached speeds of 200mph in Newquay. Credit: ITV News

The Hakskeen Pan is one of the only places in the world that is long enough. It is the best place for us to run the car. There has been years of planning for this.

I am really pleased for the Northern Cape and for South Africa. We are coming this time.

– Ian Warhurst, Bloodhound LSR CEO

Since the Bloodhound's relaunch at it's new home in Berkeley, Gloucestershire in March 2019, the Bloodhound LSR team have been firmly back on the trail of a world land speed record.

Under new ownership, the freshly assembled Bloodhound LSR team have focussed on both the logistics of deploying the team and car to a remote corner of the Kalahari Desert, and converting the car from its runway design to high speed testing spec.

This has included adding the parachute braking system, uprating springs and dampers, adding more air pressure and load sensors, and a fire detection and suppression system.

Bloodhound's new home is at SGS Berkeley Green University Technical College. Credit: Bloodhound

Back on track: the history of Bloodhound

  • Project Bloodhound was founded in 2007 with plans to race the car at a specially built track in the deserts of South Africa.
  • However, the project's future was under threat when the firm behind it went into administration in October last year and in early December, it was announced efforts to find £25 million worth of investment had failed.
  • Yorkshire-based entrepreneur Ian Warhurst then stepped in and bought the business and assets for an undisclosed amount.
  • The project opened a new base in Berkeley and Bloodhound was once again preparing to go for the world land speed record.

The Bloodhound LSR team’s attempt on the world land speed record is the first in the digital era. This means digital platforms will be sharing the data from hundreds of sensors in real time to allow budding engineers to see exactly how the car is behaving as it dices with physics.

The high speed trials in October will enable the Bloodhound LSR team to test the live video stream at high speeds, in preparation for the land speed record runs, currently scheduled for late 2020.

This phase of the Bloodhound LSR project will be funded through sponsorship and partnerships, with cash flow supported by the project’s investor, Ian Warhurst.

I have invested about seven figures now. The value of what we are doing here will be quite amazing to the sponsors that come on board. It is worth every penny.

– Ian Warhurst, Bloodhound LSR CEO
The car will be dismantled before being transported to South Africa. Credit: Bloodhound

The high-speed test programme will also be a full dress rehearsal for the record-breaking campaign, with the team using the time to develop its operational procedures, perfect its practices for desert working and test radio communications.

Having worked on this project for about 5 or 6 years, to start getting the project ready to go to the desert later this year is absolutely fantastic.

– Chris Rickard, Machinist
Bloodhound's future was under threat when the firm behind it went into administration. Credit: ITV News

During low speed trials in 2017, driver Andy Green, the current World Land Speed Record holder, drove the previously blue and orange liveried car from a standing start to 200mph in eight seconds.

High speed testing is a key part of setting a new world land speed record. Building on everything we achieved in Newquay in 2017, we’ll learn a tremendous amount by going fast on the desert the Car was designed to run on. This is where science meets reality and it all starts to get really exciting!

– Andy Green, Driver