On Monday morning, the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group—which owns Chinese car brand Geely as well as Volvo and the London Taxi Company—announced that it is now the main sponsor and official automotive partner of the Bloodhound SSC land speed record project. The three-year deal includes both financial and technical support for the project, as well as an extension of Bloodhound SSC’s STEM in schools promotion across China.
Richard Noble, the main driving force behind Bloodhound SSC (and both previous land speed records) said “We could not have a better partner than Geely: not only are they an international technology company with tremendous vision and capability, they share our passion for innovation and education. Their support, both technical and financial, means we can now plan next year’s record-breaking challenge with confidence. It also means we can take our STEM inspiration message to a vast new audience, which is great for science and engineering but also for promoting Great Britain.
The head of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, Li Shufu said “Since day one we have been committed to breaking technology barriers at Geely and working with Project BLOODHOUND will help further our mutual technology breakthrough to an international audience. It also means we can tell millions of young people, in China and around the world, about the opportunities presented by studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics. That is what makes this ‘Engineering Adventure’ so special and why we wanted to be part of it.”
Fundraising has been a major issue for Bloodhound SSC, as it’s no simple thing to build and test a vehicle capable of driving 1,000mph (1,609km/h). Many of the engineers and mechanics on the project had taken other short-term contracts in recent months while Noble and others went fundraising. That meant that much of the progress made in 2015 stalled, but Geely’s support means that the Bloodhound SSC team now have the necessary backing to concentrate on getting the vehicle ready for its first runs on the Hakskeen Pan in South Africa in 2017.
And yes, for those who are curious, Jaguar will still supply the supercharged V8 that’s used as a fuel pump for Bloodhound’s NAMMO hybrid rocket engine.