Winding-up looms unless Bloodhound sniffs out investors

10 March 2020 3 min. read

The supersonic Bloodhound project looks to be under threat once more, as its current owner has suggested it has just one month to find new investment, or it will face being wound up. The UK-led bid to break the world land speed record was previously sold out of administration by FRP Advisory in 2018.

Bloodhound is a supersonic vehicle built to race at more than 1,000 miles per hour. Using the same jet technology which powers the Eurofighter-Typhoon, it is widely regarded as the most sophisticated land speed record car ever conceived. With a Rolls-Royce Eurofighter jet engine bolted to a rocket, experts believe it has the necessary capacity to smash the existing world land speed record of 763 miles per hour by some distance, while computer simulations have also indicated that it ought to be capable of going even faster still.

Despite R&D being complete and production on the vehicle itself nearing completion, however, the project hit a major roadblock in 2018. The project was placed into administration, as it needed a £25 million shot in the arm, in order to take to its test track on a dried-out lakebed in South Africa. Administrators were subsequently appointed from FRP Advisory, in a bid to bail out the organisation and match it to a suitable buyer.

Winding-up looms unless Bloodhound sniffs out investors

Andrew Sheridan, from FRP Advisory’s Bristol office, said at the time, "We have a legal entity that has gone into administration because it hasn't got any more cash. But there is a project there that is very much alive and on the cusp of delivering its goal, which is ground-breaking with leading technology. However, it does need circa £25 million to get it over the line, and that now requires an investor, be that a wealthy individual or a corporate of some kind.”

Shortly after, Yorkshire-based businessman Ian Warhurst agreed to rescue the project, but on the condition that he would only use his own cash to take the project through the recent demonstration trials. At that point, Bloodhound would then require other individuals or corporates to come in with the backing to finish the job. That point is fast approaching, with Warhurst having stated that the project could otherwise be wound up in the next month.

Telling the BBC that around £8 million would see Bloodhound’s survival, he explained, "We've shown what this car can do and there's been huge support for it. But although I've had lots of conversations with people who are interested in taking it on, we haven't yet been able to get the money on the table.”

The automotive engineer explained that the £8 million would cover the last elements of the rocket's development, and the work needed to prepare and run the car on its bespoke race track on Hakskeen Pan, in the Kalahari Desert. As the attempt to break the record depends on utilising the Pan's dry, cool months from July to August 2021, kick-starting Bloodhound’s final push cannot come later than June this year.