back to article One careful driver: Make room in the garage... Bloodhound jet-powered car is up for sale

The Bloodhound Land Speed Record project is looking for a new owner after its chief exec, Ian Warhurst, confirmed the vehicle is up for sale. A lengthy journey marked by stops and starts seemed to have come to an end back in 2018 when Warhurst snapped up the assets of Bloodhound. A fresh injection of cash meant the team were …

  1. My-Handle Silver badge

    Patreon / Kickstarter anyone?

    I wonder how much a Patreon / Kickstarter campaign could generate? There are computer game campaigns that pulled in more, and bloody hell that would be something to brag about: "I helped fund the 1000mph Land Speed Record attempt!".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Patreon / Kickstarter anyone?

      Maybe a hybrid campaign. Some of those cars in Forza might *seem* fast, but not compared to Bloodhound.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps Elon Musk...

    ... might get interested, if you were to put a little ramp at the end of the track; and tell him Bloodhound had to first break the record, jump off using the ramp, and then finally land on its tail. :-)

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps Elon Musk...

      He has better, faster, and far more advanced technology to play with. This kind of records are a relic of the 1960s.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Perhaps Elon Musk...

        I get a bit of that sort if feeling... There's a whiff of engineering to meet arbitrary criteria (as opposed to engineering for the sake of reaching orbit or rapid reuse, or cost savings etc)... the sheer speed is the easy bit (any number of fighter jets can do it), the hard bit is doing so in a vehicle that has to be touching the ground. Touching the ground (in which case could a jet fighter lower a wheeled cart onto the ground for a mile?) or do the rules explicitly state the vehicle must start on the ground?

        In the past, one land speed record was denied because the vehicle only had three wheels, making it a motorcycle in the eyes of one Motorsport organisation. Yeah, arbitrary.

        That said, were Elon Musk to buy it it'd be a way of making an entrance to the Burning Man festival, which he is known to attend (as least the terrain is vaguely suitable, unlike say Glastonbury... Might need to fit tractor tyres... Not for grip but to give it greater clearance). And he did buy the submarine Lotus Esprit from that James Bond movie (though he hasn't yet converted it to work as the movie depicted it, which he said he was considering)

        1. LDS Silver badge

          "Yeah, arbitrary"

          No, not arbitrary because in many country vehicles with three wheels can be registered as motorcycles and not cars - to exploit some less strict rules and lower costs. You need or needed four wheels to be classified as a "car".

          It looks sensible motorsport organizations took the same approach.

          Now these things don't resemble a car at all, nor they can have tires, and the whole thing is quite absurd. Just look at AC75 boats, they too prefer to avoid much contact with water to achieve higher speeds....

          Still a car able to travel into water or into air could still be more useful, funny to use and far more interesting from an engineering point of view than an horizontal rocket... but sure, Burning Man would be the right place for such kind of exhibition.

        2. JetSetJim
          Boffin

          Re: Perhaps Elon Musk...

          They did a very enlightening roadshow in the lead up to SSC back in the 90s, part of what they covered was that it does have toe be a "car", and not something that briefly "lands" to cover the mile in each direction necessary to qualify as a speed record. Equally, the worst thing that could happen in this device is for it to become airborne. The tail had an adjustable rear wheel/sled that could lift the tail up by an inch or two - in a failure mode, this happened with the express aim of keeping the car on the ground, and hopefully prevent RUD.

          Secondly, your proposal to have a fighter jet land to do this is probably significantly flawed as the wheels on a fighter jet are not designed to be used at 800mph - they would swiftly disintegrate. They had to make SSC wheels out of funky materials, with specific designs, to ensure they didn't fly apart at the rotational speeds required to support a vehicle travelling at that speed.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Perhaps Elon Musk...

            > your proposal to have a fighter jet land to do this is probably significantly flawed

            It wasn't a proposal, just an illustration. I didn't mean the jet fighter's wheels but a custom-built wheeled cart that the jet lowers to the ground as it is flying 20' above the ground.

            1. Rich 11 Silver badge

              Re: Perhaps Elon Musk...

              a custom-built wheeled cart that the jet lowers to the ground as it is flying 20' above the ground

              I respectfully suggest that this would be worse.

              Can we just say that, as a general principle, a supersonic aircraft in ground effect would not be a safe vehicle in which to ride?

              1. Munchausen's proxy
                Pint

                Re: Perhaps Elon Musk...

                Can we just say that, as a general principle, a supersonic aircraft in ground effect would not be a safe vehicle in which to ride?

                As if a supersonic wheeled vehicle on the ground is?

                1. JetSetJim
                  Pint

                  Re: Perhaps Elon Musk...

                  I think I'd feel a bit safer in a vehicle designed to be driven at that speed rather than in something that's designed to fly at that speed but is being "driven" on the ground instead, probably having had to rely on an extremely precise and gentle landing at that speed to even marginally qualify as a car.

                  But IANARocketScientist or a test pilot

                2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                  Re: Perhaps Elon Musk...

                  >Can we just say that, as a general principle, a supersonic aircraft in ground effect would not be a safe vehicle in which to ride?

                  I think it's called an Exocet

                  1. Rich 11 Silver badge

                    Re: Perhaps Elon Musk...

                    Exocets are subsonic, and not even the French are audacious enough to fly in one.

          2. Daedalus

            Re: Perhaps Elon Musk...

            Interestingly Rudyard Kipling, in a burst of Edwardian futurism, wrote some pseudo-news articles about "bat-boats" that were winning races by taking to the air, only starting and finishing in the water to show that they could indeed, plough through the waves in the approved manner. I think they were part of his story "With the Night Mail".

        3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Perhaps Elon Musk...

          >Touching the ground

          Land speed record for a "train" (ie rocket sled on rails) is about mach 8 - admittedly unmanned

          But for a real British record, get a track, a sled, a bunch of rockets, an idiot and some Mallard blue paint and have a proper speed record

  3. 45RPM Silver badge

    What’s the Vehicle Excise Duty on it? This could be a deal breaker for me. And can I get it as an EV?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      As an EV? Well you could retrofit an ion drive, but you'd need a helluva long course in order to accelerate to 800mph at such low thrust. (Joking aside, the air resistance would quickly outweigh the ion drive's thrust. Do the rules state that the land speed record must be held on Earth? The thinner atmosphere of Mars might give you an edge)

    2. JetSetJim

      You might be SOL - Bloodhound is expected to release around 400kg of CO2 from 180kg of fuel. The speed runs are on an area 12 miles long, so assume that burn is for both directions and it makes 400kg/24miles, which is about 10kg/km, which (if I read the table correctly) puts it firmly into the 255+g/km bracket, at ~£500/year

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        >puts it firmly into the 255+g/km bracket, at ~£500/year

        Doesn't the eurofighter use 2 of these engines ?

        They must be terribly expensive in tax

        1. SuperGeek

          Definitely not Euro 6 compliant!

        2. Nik 2

          They must be terribly expensive in tax

          "They must be terribly expensive in tax"

          £37,000,000,000 is the current estimate, and every penny paid for by taxes...

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Happy

        Surely it’s a hybrid vehicle, and gets special treatment?

        Does your second power source being a rocket not at least make a jet look green in comparison...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Given the length of time the project has been running then it might even qualify for the "vintage car exemption".

      The Bloodhound project started around the time my older son had started secondary school - and as they were having a design base in here in Bristol and wanting to link with schools over STEM support I was looking forward to his school getting involved ... however that never happened. Anyway, since they started the project my son had 6 years at school, 4 yearts an University doing Engineering, 1 year at Tesco while applying for jobs and is now 18 months into a 2 year graduate trainee program at an aerospace company - so maybe he didn't need Bloodhound to inspire him after all!

    4. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

      Getting the MOT might be a bit of a challenge...

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        >Getting the MOT might be a bit of a challenge...

        Emissions test is tricky. This is a classic / no OBD port - so presumably they stick a probe up the exhaust

        1. Horizontal
          Mushroom

          If VW can manipulate the emissions test I'm sure BH can.

        2. phuzz Silver badge

          Do you still pass if the probe melts off?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Boris is going to waste £125M on a Brexit "celebration"

    Perhaps that should be scrapped and £8M diverted to this as it would generated better PR?

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Boris is going to waste £125M on a Brexit "celebration"

      £120 million will disappear down the plughole before the budget goes up He may want to top the amount spent on the Millennium Dome - I stopped paying attention around the £800 million mark.

      Anyway, lets start by writing off another £43 million for a start - Cost of the Garden Bridge to nowhere championed by Boris when he was Mayor of London

  5. Christopher Reeve's Horse

    Peanuts

    I don't get it. To the average billionaire or international corporation with an alignment of brand character, the amount of money to complete this would be trivial, and the marketing opportunity staggeringly enormous. Record breaking machines, and pictures of their iconic liveries and partner's logos go down in history forever, take F1 for example.

    Sure, there's a risk of catastrophic failure and the resulting 2 mile long meat crayon, but hey, you know, life is for living and everything...

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Peanuts

      Nobody cares for this kind of records anymore - that's why they don't find money. Even F1 has issues and that's why it's trying to find new fans in other countries. It's not surprising now you see some Russia billionaires' sons getting a car seat... they simply need the money and sell them.

      Even if the go 1000mph it would become a tiny piece of news on sites crowded by gossip news that would attract far more people.

      1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?
        Trollface

        Re: Peanuts

        It's not surprising now you see some Russia billionaires' sons getting a car seat...

        I think you'll find that Lawrence is Canadian

        1. PerlyKing

          Re: Peanuts

          Nikita Mazepin will be driving for Haas this year.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Peanuts

          As is Nicholas Latifi. Lando Norris is British. Sergio Perez has had substantial backing from Carlos Slim (also Mexican) for basically his whole career.

          I doubt the Schumacher family is short of a bob or two either.

          To say that drivers are only now paying for a seat is to rather sell the history of F1 short. Chapman and Brabham sold whole cars to privateers back in the Sixties. The heyday is usually reckoned as Pedro Diniz in the 90s. At least today's pay-drivers have to show some ability.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Selling cars or engines is different from selling seats...

            A car maker that sells car is normal business. Selling seats on a race car to someone who is less competent at driving it than others, but comes from a very rich family and wants his toy is a far different business, and shows they are just looking for money. F1 is a pale imitation of what it used to be.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Selling cars or engines is different from selling seats...

              Some selections from the F1 section of Wikipedia article titled "Pay driver"

              "At one time F1 regulations regarding the changing of drivers during the course of a season were extremely liberal, which encouraged some teams to recruit a string of pay drivers to drive their cars, sometimes only for one or two races. Frank Williams Racing Cars (the predecessor to Frank Williams and Patrick Head's highly successful Williams F1 team) were particularly prolific with regard to the number of drivers they would use in a season - ten drivers drove for the team in both 1975 and 1976. Because of this the rules on driver changes were subsequently tightened. "

              "One case involved the collapse of the Forti team after wealthy Brazilian driver Pedro Diniz left Forti and moved to Ligier after the 1995 season; Forti withdrew from Formula One after the 1996 German Grand Prix. "

              "Former Formula One drivers Ricardo Rosset and Alex Yoong were notorious for how much money their families spent to finance their F1 racing careers." (Rosset raced 1996-8. Yoong raced in 2002)

              Reference 2 is to an article titled "Demise of pay drivers in Formula 1 - Is it a good thing ?" from 2008. The author reckoned that the 2008 season was the first year without a pay driver on the grid.

              When exactly was this golden age of F1, that it's a pale shadow of now?

              1. phuzz Silver badge

                Re: Selling cars or engines is different from selling seats...

                "When exactly was this golden age of F1"

                Generally when someone is talking about a "golden age", or "the good old days", they're referring to their childhood. When everything seemed amazing, because they weren't yet old enough to see the flaws.

                To quote DNA:

                1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.

                2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.

                3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”

    2. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: Peanuts

      the marketing opportunity staggeringly enormous.

      '1,000 mph' means nothing for 95% of the World

      1. DrewWyatt

        Re: Peanuts

        Woohoo!

        So glad to see we have munged things together so much we needed a category all of our own, "Mixed"

    3. Pete B

      Re: Peanuts

      It's the sort of thing Branson used to do when he was younger - remember his blue riband record attempt?

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Peanuts

        Oh yes, the spine crushing speedboat that was built to beat a 30yr old record set by a floating five star hotel. Well done for the fastest* surface crossing, it was quite an achievement getting a small boat across the Atlantic that fast.

        I thoroughly approve of mad 'because I can' engineering but if you can't play deck quoits while sipping champers it's not really blue riband :)

        *a couple of other boats upped the average speed then everyone lost interest after a few years.

  6. Nik 2

    Ineos?

    I think a Kickstarter would do well - I'd certainly go for the Level 2 contribution of having my picture on a USB stick in the vehicle as it set the record.

    I wonder if Jim Ratcliffe & Ineos have been contacted.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ineos?

      I would doubt that the Monaco GP circuit is suitable.

  7. Dr. G. Freeman

    Is it road legal ?

    Just wondering for getting it to the Transport Museum (the London one or Glasgow one, or any of the others)

    1. PerlyKing
      Happy

      I think you'd need to add lights and mirrors. And maybe trade plates.

      1. jonathan keith

        Doesn't it also require a reverse gear? Or does the EJ200 come fitted with thrust reversers?

      2. Ochib

        Don't need lights to be road legal

        ROAD VEHICLES LIGHTING REGULATIONS 1989

        4. Exemptions - General

        3) Nothing in these Regulations shall require any lamp or reflector to be fitted between sunrise and sunset to :-

        (a) a vehicle not fitted with any front or rear position lamp,

        (4) Without prejudice to regulation 16, for the purposes of these Regulations a lamp shall not be treated as being a lamp if it is :-

        (a) so painted over or masked that it is not capable of being immediately used or readily put to use; or

        (b) an electric lamp which is not provided with any system of wiring by means of which that lamp is, or can readily be, connected with a source of electricity.

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

      You'll want to avoid any routes with sharp turns by the look of it

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        You'll want to avoid any routes with sharp turns by the look of it

        Also avoid potholes, high berms, ruts, and probably any road less than flat.

  8. Floydian Slip

    Time for UK based (and UK nationality) entrepreneurs to step up to the plate

    James Dyson, Richard Branson, and James (Jim) Ratcliffe to step up to the plate. Let's start a campaign

    1. Peter X

      Re: Time for UK based (and UK nationality) entrepreneurs to step up to the plate

      Good luck with any of those duffers. You'd have a bout as much chance as getting money back from the PPE cronies - who, probably do have a few £million spare.

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Time for UK based (and UK nationality) entrepreneurs to step up to the plate

      Are any of them based in the "British Isles" for tax or residence purposes?

  9. LucasNorth

    it amazes me that anyone would give a penny to such a pointless project let alone the millions that have already been wasted on it

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You could say that about pretty much everything.

      1. ClockworkOwl
        Facepalm

        Options...

        It's only half an episode of Game of Thrones...

    2. mr.K

      I tend to agree. And as people point out a lot of things are pointless I would like to clarify: I don't object to it. I just don't understand it. That in itself makes it fascinating though.

      Why I don't understand it is that I can understand trying to beat records, but not the category. When you remove the constraint that is has to be wheel powered then you are basically left with how fast you can make a rocket go while touching the ground. Which seems rather odd. It is an unreasonable constraint on rockets and unreasonable loose constraint on what a car means. It is like having the fastest submarine in the world by submerging it in a rail road car and sending it down the rails.

      But by all means, go for it. As for me, I find your fascination fascinating.

      1. quartzz

        do we want something that is 'world beating' or not?

        innovstion. new boundaries. new science. going where no previously-RAF pilot has gone before

  10. rg287

    What's the point of anything?

    Sad to see such scorning and whining comments here and elsewhere about "the point" of such endeavours. I wonder what the budget is for Celebrity Love Island? Better this than that.

    But such comments also betray ignorance of the project itself. As any fule knows, Bloodhound started off as the heart of a strong STEM education/outreach programme. They went into schools and pushed STEM - every industry needs a tent-pole project and Bloodhound was conceived as a leading bit of automotive engineering.

    1000mph is of course arbitrary, but also achievable - Thrust SSC went for "supersonic", which is also perfectly arbitrary and the next obvious step from there was 1000mph, since SSC involved going 1200km/h and 2000km/h doesn't have quite the same ring to it. Also, 2000kmh = 1200mph which is quite a bit more and pushes your aspirational engineering into not-sure-we-can-actually-do-this territory.

    It's not really accurate to call this a vanity project either. The much-vaunted wheels in particular are a very tricky bit of engineering. Developing wheels which can not only hold together under their own centrifugal force, but also stand up to the abrasion of running over salt pan at those speeds is no small feat and has applications in fields like rail or indeed high-speed flywheels - energy storage being an increasingly hot topic.

    The biggest criticism might well be not of the project itself but whether Land Speed Records should be restricted to wheel-driven vehicles rather than jet cars where the wheels serve to technically connect it to the ground.

    Is Bloodhound the most cost-efficient way of conducting flywheel or aerodynamic research? Of course not.

    Is it a decent mix of aspirational engineering, cutting-edge manufacturing and STEM education outreach with a bit of "cool factor"?

    Yup.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: What's the point of anything?

      >1,200mph ... not-sure-we-can-actually-do-this territory<

      At the moment that's true, but this is technically off-road driving.

      By using rails many of the wheel issues will go away and this can probably be done now, of course this would then be the worlds fastest train...

    2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: What's the point of anything?

      They claimed that the school outreach programme was central, but I don't think that was ever more than a bit of CSR puff for sponsors wanting to hide the fact that they were splashing their shareholders' cash on a boys' toy. F1 in Schools has a far more coherent and far more interesting programme.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. rg287

      Not sure why the article is talking about 1000mph, that target/claim was dropped long ago and pretty sure you'll find no mention of it on their website.

      Look harder. Literally the second FAQ entry.

      ----------------------------

      Q: Are you still planning to attempt 1,000mph?

      Yes, but there are now two phases. The first phase is to break the world land speed record – currently 763.035mph (1227.985km/h). This is necessary to understand how the car behaves as it initially enters the transonic and then supersonic speed levels. Part of this phase will be high speed testing in excess of 400mph (643km/h), which will take place at Hakskeenpan in South Africa. The second phase is to target the maximum design speed, which is around 1,000mph (1,609km/h). This will be dependent on the success and review of the first phase.

      ----------------------------

      This is hardly a surprise. Testing is always incremental - validate the basic chassis to 200+mph on a UK runway, then they went to South Africa and went to 628mph (the design intention being to engage the rocket motor at 650mph), so they've basically validated the initial jet-only phase and the desert wheels (as opposed to the rubber tyres used for runway testing). The final stage being then to go back with the rocket, break the LSR and then press on to 1000mph.

      Doing it in two hits is to be expected. When JCB set the diesel-powered LSR they broke the record but ran again to hit their design speed of 350mph (because the existing record was rather unambitious, so it was inevitable they would break it on a proving run as they built up to the design speed).

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. YARR

    Tickets for a ride

    If they operated as a business they could sell tickets for a ride (at a much slower speed over shorter distances like a disused airfield runway - after the landspeed record is achieved, and carbon offset of course).

  13. Shadow Systems Silver badge
    Joke

    1K MPH, is that all?

    My ex wife can do that in her sleep or on the phone while driving with one hand or while applying makeup in the rearview mirror. Tell her there's a sale on at her favorite store and she'll make the mere speed of light look absolutely tectonic in comparison.

    A mere 1,000 MPH? Bah. I go faster than that on my wheelie chair!

    *Shakes a palsied fist*

    Danged whippersnappers anyer newfangled wheeled cars. Why back in my day we had to slither everywhere because we were only single celled organisms and hadn't invented feet yet! And that's the way we liked it dagnabbit! Now get off my lawn gnome!

    *Cough*

    Nurse, I need to refill my dried frog pills...

  14. HildyJ Silver badge
    Angel

    Sounds like a job for . . .

    The Grand Tour.

    Clarkson can celebrate British engineering. May can explain the mechanics. Hammond is crazy enough to drive it. And $8m is chump change for Amazon.

    1. rg287

      Re: Sounds like a job for . . .

      Hammond is crazy enough to drive it.

      Yeah, but they want it back in one piece at the end.

  15. PhilipN Silver badge

    Room in the back for the groceries?

    Might make an offer.

    1. David Hicklin

      Re: Room in the back for the groceries?

      Might come back ready cooked

  16. quartzz

    hope this can continue

  17. Sven_Golly

    It's Nature's way of telling you?

    I'm reminded of the song by Spirit, 'Nature's way of telling you' (something's wrong). Maybe that's the message COVID is sending. The planet doesn't need another land speed record. It needs us to start treading more lightly and stop raping the earth of natural resources. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see the car run, but I'd also much rather see us change course away from our headlong charge toward environmental collapse.

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