The Bloodhound supersonic car project is reportedly back on track, with the aim of breaking the land speed record in October 2017.
After months of funding shortages putting a stop to vehicle development, new sponsorship agreements mean that engineers on the British project can get back to work.
October 2017 will mark the 20th anniversary for the current land speed record of 1 228 km/h, as set by Thrust SSC in the Nevada desert in 1997. Bloodhound is intended to surpass this at 1 287 km/h, with the run scheduled to take place right here in South Africa.
Project components chief Conor La Grue says that with the new funding comes a solid financial footing for the entire project.
"In the past, we've only ever really had funding to plan two to three months ahead. We're now in a position to go all the way through to taking the record," La Grue said.
With outstanding components needed to fully finish the vehicle being ordered, a key objective is to complete the rocket system. To reach speeds in the first few hundreds, Bloodhound will be using an engine from a Eurofighter-Typhoon jet.
However, it will require a booster to break through the sound barrier and reach its top speed. The system will be sourced from Norwegian company Nammo, and a gearbox and pump designed by Bloodhound will be used to drive a V8 built by Jaguar.
Testing of the overall configuration is scheduled to begin in September, with trial runs expected to commence at the Newquay aerohub in Cornwall in May or June of next year. The runs, though only expected to get Bloodhound up to around 320 km/h, will allow engineers to monitor software operation.
The final run will take place on the Hakskeen Pan in the Northern Cape, with the team arriving in South Africa in August or September, according to chief engineer Mark Chapman.
"This would give us a few weeks of running to shake the car down, increase the speed and then go for the record around October. The date would be quite poignant because it would be exactly twenty years since Thrust SSC," Chapman said.