Chinese car maker Geely to help Bloodhound break land speed record

Chinese automotive engineering group Geely has joined the Bloodhound Supersonic Car project as a major sponsor, which will help the team finish the delayed attempt to break the world land speed record.

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group will provide financial backing as well as technical support for three years. The deal, signed already in August but only revealed today, is the largest sponsorship the UK project has received so far. Before securing the backing, Bloodhound, which aims to attract young people to engineering, was nearly facing cancellation. 

“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,” Bloodhound Project Director Richard Noble, said. “Their support, both technical and financial, means we can now plan next year’s record-breaking challenge with confidence.” 

The rocket-powered car was originally scheduled to make its record breaking attempt in South Africa in 2012. The schedule has slipped several times since with the latest target date now Autumn 2017. 

“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,” said Li Shufu, Chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. “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.”

Geely is the largest privately owned Chinese car maker and has been growing rapidly over the past few decades. The group also owns the Volvo Car Group and London Taxi Company. 

The Bloodhound Project, launched in 2008, is backed by multiple engineering heavyweights including Rolls Royce, Lockheed Martin and Jaguar.

The trial build of the car was publicly displayed for the first time in London’s Canary Wharf in September 2015. However the project was then put on hold, with its engineers taking short-term work elsewhere due to lack of funding. With the funding now secured, the engineers will resume the work.

The 13.5 metre-long car has been dismantled since last year, with the team documenting the process to create a detailed Bloodhound User Manual. Modifications will be made where necessary before low-speed tests in Newquay Aerohub in Cornwall.   

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