The Geely deal means the Bloodhound project now has sufficient funding to complete the car and make the necessary preparations for its record campaign. Picture:

Didcot, Oxfordshire - The Bloodhound Project, which aims to set a new land speed record on the Northern Cape’s Hakskeen Pan in 2017, has announced a three-year sponsorship agreement with Geely, to provide technical and financial support to the project as well as promoting its inspirational programme throughout Asia.

While the value of the sponsorship has not been disclosed, Bloodhound says the deal is the largest in the history of the project and means plans for challenging the world land speed record in 2017 are now back on track. Bloodhound aims to raise the current record of 1228km/h to 1290km/h in October 2017; the next target is 1600km/h in 2018.

Bloodhound engineers are reportedly also returning, having taken short-term contracts elsewhere, with a major programme of work now beginning in earnest.

It was reported earlier in 2016 that the car was 95 percent completed and once it had been tested at low speeds in the UK, a team of 50 people, including engineers and support staff, would need to come to South Africa for a period of around three months for the first deployment.

Originally it was hoped that this would be done from August-October 2016 but due to a lack of funding, with an estimated R400 million still outstanding, it was delayed until 2017. The partnership means that the project will now go ahead in a year’s time.

Bloodhound is set for a low-speed (350km/h!) shakedown test along Newquay airport runway in the UK in 2017; this will also be an opportunity for the team to practice live-streaming data and imagery from the car.

With the shakedown test completed, the Bloodhound will be loaded onto a CargoLogicAir Boeing 747 freighter to be airlifted to Upington, from where it will be transported by road to the team’s base at Hakskeen Pan.

Inspiring young people

Bloodhound is followed in more than 200 countries; its road-shows have toured Europe, Canada, South Africa, Brazil, India and China. The Model Rocket Car Challenge is now rolling out across 5500 schools in the UK and 10 countries, including South Africa.

Geely, the parent company of Volvo Cars and the London Taxi Company has four international research and design centres; they join a roster of international organisations supporting the engineering adventure including Rolls-Royce, Castrol, Rolex, Atlas Copco, STP and Lockheed Martin. Jaguar continues in its role as technical partner to the project and its V8 engine will remain the auxiliary power unit used to power the oxidiser pump for Bloodhound’s hybrid rocket.

Geely vehicles will be used in South Africa during the record campaigns, design and engineering support will be provided where needed; Bloodhound will be promoted across Asia and the team’s programme, aimed at inspiring young people around the world to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics, rolled out across China.

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