Britain’s Bloodhound SSC land speed record project has announced Geely as its new “prime sponsor and official automotive partner”.
The deal with Volvo’s parent company and China’s seventh-largest motor manufacturer revives the labouring venture, which aims to push the land speed record beyond 1000mph on a specially prepared track in South Africa in 2018 after setting a new 800mph record there next year.
The project has been practically mothballed since the start of the year when testing plans were put on hold – with the car about 85% built – because of a lack of finance.
Geely’s new financial contribution is understood to be worth millions and means that long-planned UK shakedown trials at Newquay airport can now take place in July 2017, before the 800mph attempt in September at a ready-prepared 11-mile track at Hakskeen Pan, South Africa. If that goes well, the team will return there in 2018 to fulfil its dream of exceeding l000mph.
Bloodhound is the brainchild of entrepreneur Richard Noble and fast jet pilot-cum-driver Andy Green, who have held the land speed record in turn and locked out all other bidders since 1983. They are the only team to have gone supersonic, which they achieved in Thrust SSC at Black Rock, Nevada, in 1997, when Green set the current record of 763.035mph.