The world will have to wait a little bit longer to see one rocket-powered man and machine smash through the sound barrier and produce a new land speed record.
Project pilot Wing Commander Andy Green and the Bloodhound LSR team’s aim for a 2021 attempt in the Kalahari Desert has been jeopardised by the ongoing pandemic, leading to a declaration that they’ve unfortunately been forced into ‘hibernation’.
The intent has been to try to surpass the current record, currently standing at 763mph, which was set almost a quarter of a century ago, way back in 1997 with Green once again the safe pair of hands in the cockpit.
Powered by a Norwegian aerospace company-designed rocket attached to a Rolls Royce EJ 200 jet engine from the Eurofighter-Typhoon, "the most power-dense and, importantly, most reliable jet engine in the history of military aviation", the eye-catching Bloodhound vehicle is intent on producing the power to absolutely annihilate the speed of sound (768mph), becoming the first land-based carriage to do so. There is also the greater ambition of hitting the 1,000mph mark.
Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, however Bloodhound LSR had already been under threat due to lack of investment that meant the short possible period permitted by the necessary weather window in the specially arranged track in the Kalahari Desert looked likely to be missed.
But there is good news, for those still feeling supersonic, Bloodhound has kept those embers of interest burning by producing a new video to demonstrate what they have been capable of, lining it up against a Formula 1 car, a Bugatti Chiron, and a regular road car. Combining equal parts science and imagination, the results are astonishing.
Though slower of the mark that two of its competitors, a mere twenty seconds in and the F1 car and Bugatti Chiron are eating the Bloodhound’s dust.
Ian Warhurst, Bloodhound’s CEO said, “Rightfully, the world has more important things to focus on right now. Discussions with a number of global brands were looking promising when COVID-19 struck, but the sponsorship industry literally shut down.
"This means our ability to raise the necessary funds in time and, consequently, the window to conduct the LSR campaign safely in 2021 is now very likely to be missed. As a result, we are planning to go into hibernation to reduce the monthly overheads to an absolute minimum, and we’ll reboot conversations with potential sponsors later in the year."
He continued, “In the meantime we thought you might enjoy our latest film, where we imagined drag racing Bloodhound LSR against some other very fast cars.” We'll take the silver linings wherever we can right now...