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Bloodhound adopted: British land speed record car is back on track with new owners

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 21/03/2019 Andrew English

Bloodhound World Land Speed Record driver Andy Green with a three quarter scale model of the front section of the Bloodhound SSC at the Bloodhound HQ, Great Western Dockyard, Bristol, during an announcement of developments on the Bloodhound project's attempt on the World Land Speed Record.   (Photo by Barry Batchelor/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Images Bloodhound World Land Speed Record driver Andy Green with a three quarter scale model of the front section of the Bloodhound SSC at the Bloodhound HQ, Great Western Dockyard, Bristol, during an announcement of developments on the Bloodhound project's attempt on the World Land Speed Record. (Photo by Barry Batchelor/PA Images via Getty Images) Bloodhound, the British Land-Speed Record (LSR) team, which went into receivership last year and was bought out at the 11th hour by Yorkshire-based British businessman, Ian Warhurst, has been rebranded with a new name (Bloodhound LSR), a new red-and-white livery and a new base in Berkeley Green University Technical College in Gloucestershire.

Bloodhound driver Andy Green, 51, stands by the £10 million rocket-powered Bloodhound car at the Bloodhound Technical Centre in Bristol, as the mission to produce the world's first 1,000mph car took a mammoth step forward with unveiling of the cockpit.   (Photo by Steve Lewis/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Images Bloodhound driver Andy Green, 51, stands by the £10 million rocket-powered Bloodhound car at the Bloodhound Technical Centre in Bristol, as the mission to produce the world's first 1,000mph car took a mammoth step forward with unveiling of the cockpit. (Photo by Steve Lewis/PA Images via Getty Images) Warhurst purchased the car and equipment for an undisclosed sum from Bloodhound Programme Ltd, which remains in administration and will be wound down over time. The new Bloodhound team is owned by Grafton LSR Ltd, with Warhurst assuming the role of chief executive, although most of the existing team will transfer over including driver and current LSR holder Andy Green, engineering director Mark Chapman, commercial director Ewen Honeyman, operations director Martin Davidson and many of the original mechanics and technicians.

Warhurst, who was texted about the team's plight just before Christmas by his 18-year-old son Charlie, says the team has a commercial future in breaking the current land-speed record of 763.035mph, set by Green driving Thrust SSC in the Black Rock desert in the US in 1997. He is reluctant to commit to a fully detailed timetable, however, saying the team has missed too many deadlines in the past, and also whether the car will ever achieve its maximum design speed of 1,000mph.

Bloodhound driver Andy Green, 51, sits in the cockpit of the £10 million rocket-powered Bloodhound car at the Bloodhound Technical Centre in Bristol, as the mission to produce the world's first 1,000mph car took a mammoth step forward with unveiling of the cockpit.   (Photo by Steve Lewis/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Images Bloodhound driver Andy Green, 51, sits in the cockpit of the £10 million rocket-powered Bloodhound car at the Bloodhound Technical Centre in Bristol, as the mission to produce the world's first 1,000mph car took a mammoth step forward with unveiling of the cockpit. (Photo by Steve Lewis/PA Images via Getty Images) He says Bloodhound needs to be initially tested at speeds up to 400mph at a prepared track on Hakskeen Pan in northwest South Africa, before coming back to England for inspection and possible further engineering before returning a year later for a crack at the record.

"If we can do that," he says, "we'll have a look at 1,000mph, but a lot depends on how it behaves in the supersonic area."

It's a far cry from when Warhurst first went down to the team's Avonmouth base, where the car was being prepared to be broken up to salvage sponsors' parts.

Bloodhound driver Andy Green, 51, sits in the cockpit of the £10 million rocket-powered Bloodhound car at the Bloodhound Technical Centre in Bristol, as the mission to produce the world's first 1,000mph car took a mammoth step forward with unveiling of the cockpit.   (Photo by Steve Lewis/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Images Bloodhound driver Andy Green, 51, sits in the cockpit of the £10 million rocket-powered Bloodhound car at the Bloodhound Technical Centre in Bristol, as the mission to produce the world's first 1,000mph car took a mammoth step forward with unveiling of the cockpit. (Photo by Steve Lewis/PA Images via Getty Images) "I'd been a supporter in the past," he says, "and thought the administration was just keeping things at bay, but when I got down there I was horrified at what it had come to, the car was about to be scrapped.

"I was in a fairly unique position; I'd just sold my business and retired and was able to at least ring fence the assets until the danger was past, but when I looked in it, I thought the team has a commercial future. This is a clean slate now... it’s my ambition to let Bloodhound off the leash see just how fast this car can go."

Bloodhound driver Andy Green, 51, sits in the cockpit of the 10 million rocket-powered Bloodhound car at the Bloodhound Technical Centre in Bristol, as the mission to produce the world's first 1,000mph car took a mammoth step forward with unveiling of the cockpit.   (Photo by Steve Lewis/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Images Bloodhound driver Andy Green, 51, sits in the cockpit of the 10 million rocket-powered Bloodhound car at the Bloodhound Technical Centre in Bristol, as the mission to produce the world's first 1,000mph car took a mammoth step forward with unveiling of the cockpit. (Photo by Steve Lewis/PA Images via Getty Images) He says that the team is currently negotiating contracts with key sponsors such as Rolls-Royce and the Ministry of Defence for the EJ200 Typhoon military jet engine, and Nammo over the rocket motor which adds an additional four tonnes of thrust to the jet engine's nine tonnes.

"As soon as it's possible we'll produce a fully detailed plan," he says, "but right now we're dealing with the paperwork that accompanies any new company."

An engineer climbs into the cockpit to fit a footplate, at the Bloodhound Technical Centre in Avonmouth, as the BLOODHOUND SSC car is prepared for testing in Newquay in October. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Wire/PA Images An engineer climbs into the cockpit to fit a footplate, at the Bloodhound Technical Centre in Avonmouth, as the BLOODHOUND SSC car is prepared for testing in Newquay in October. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images) One commitment that Warhurst intends to fully honour is to many members of the public who contributed funds to have their names printed on the car's tail plane.

"Of course we're going to honour that," he says, "why wouldn't you?"

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