Come on people – we need money

Just noticed that Bloodhound Programme Ltd, the company behind Project Bloodhound, the initiative to break the land speed world record, has entered into administration with the appointment of Andrew Sheridan and Geoff Rowley, partners at specialist business advisory firm FRP Advisory LLP, as joint administrators.

Project Bloodhound was founded in 2007 and aims to hit speeds of 1,000 mph at a specially built, 18km long, 1500m wide race track at Hakskeen Pan in the deserts of the Northern Cape of South Africa.

In addition to seeking to break the land speed world record, the project is a major R&D catalyst and the focal point for a STEM education campaign which has reached over 2 million children since its launch, including 120,000 UK schoolchildren per year.

To date the project has operated on a partnership and sponsorship model, with support from a variety of partners including Rolls Royce and Rolex as well as the Ministry of Defence which has lent prototype jet engines for the car, and the Northern Cape Provincial Government in South Africa, which has supported the creation of the track. Individual donations from members of the public have also supported the development of the car and the global education programme.

The project has already successfully built a viable racing car which has been tested to 200mph, whilst developing or testing propulsion, aerodynamic and telecommunications technologies with the potential for far reaching applications outside of the project. The team is now seeking around £25m in investment to provide guaranteed funding and see the project to completion.

So, hands in pockets UK investors. Interested parties should contact the FRP Advisory LLP Bristol office on 0117 203 3700

The rarest ever Jaguar?

 

For the last two years 13 staff at Classic Motor Cars (CMC) have been working on a top secret project – the restoration of a one-off Pininfarina bodied XK120 SE which is to be unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours on Sunday 20 August.

On Friday 4 August, the team, which had been supported by everybody on the company’s 60+ workforce, were pictured with the car – “under wraps”.

The car was first delivered to a Mr Max Hoffman and unveiled at the 1955 Geneva Motor Show. Hoffman was an Austrian-born, New York-based importer of luxury European automobiles into the US during the 1950s. He was a real petrol-head and inspired the production and refinement of several vehicles from the main manufacturers, which earned him entry into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2003.

There is little trace of the car’s history, but CMC is certain there was only one XK120 by Pininfarina produced, which makes this one of the rarest Jaguars in existence.

CMC purchased the car from a German gentleman who bought it in the US in 1978 with the intention of restoring it. Unfortunately, he never got round to it and eventually decided to sell, CMC took on the challenge and has spent thousands of hours carrying out a full nut and bolt restoration.

Slight aside, but it’s important

Williams Advanced Engineering has received the Consultancy of the Year award at the 2016 British Engineering Excellence Awards.

Sponsored by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Consultancy of the Year is awarded to an organisation demonstrating innovative and timely solutions to engineering problems posed to them by their customers.

WAE has delivered on a number of high profile projects over the past 12 months, including supplying the batteries to the Formula E racing series, creating the Jaguar C-X75 hypercar for the Bond film SPECTRE, and developing the fully electric Aston Martin RapidE and Nissan BladeGlider concept cars. What’s more, the company has seen its Formula One-inspired technologies and know-how introduced into a growing range of sectors such as automotive, motorsport, energy, defence, and healthcare.

It’s healthy, and only right we acknowledge engineering excellence. Many congratulations to the whole team.

Race of Champions

Jenson Button

Jenson Button

 

Drivers competing at ROC 2015 include Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean, Nico Hülkenberg and Felipe Massa, nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Tom Kristensen, reigning World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg, reigning Formula E Champion Nelson Piquet Jr, Williams Martini Racing’s Official Test Driver Susie Wolff, British Touring Car great Jason Plato, 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, ROC Champion of Champions David Coulthard plus MotoGP world champions Mick Doohan and Jorge Lorenzo.

Jenson Button will race for one of two separate teams representing the home nation England in the ROC Nations Cup. Button will partner his friend Alex Buncombe, the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series Champion, on one of the English teams – while the other will be made up of BTCC great Jason Plato and an as-yet-unnamed partner.

The Race Of Champions is an annual end-of-season contest which has been running for over 25 years. It brings together some of the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s major disciplines and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery.

The event is run over two days: first comes the ROC Nations Cup (on the evening of Friday 20 November) when drivers pair up in teams based on nationality to bid for the title of ‘World’s Fastest Nation’. Then on the afternoon of Saturday 21 November it’s time for the Race Of Champions itself, when teamwork goes out of the window and it’s a flat-out battle for individual glory as ‘Champion of Champions’.

Tickets for ROC 2015 in London are now available via http://www.raceofchampions.com

London-Brighton: no rain for a change

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As tradition dictates, the 119th anniversary run set out from Hyde Park at day break and headed 60 miles south through a misty London and on to a sunny Sussex seafront. For only the third time in more than half a century, this year’s route took the intrepid participants – all driving pioneering cars from the pre-1905 era ­– past Buckingham Palace and down The Mall before heading past Big Ben and over Westminster Bridge. The capital’s early morning mist added to the period Victorian atmosphere.

The first few cars began to arrive on Maderia Drive shortly after 10am – the 1903 Berliet driven by John Bentley just pipping the 1904 Fiat of Dutchman Jan Bruijn to the honour of being first past the finishing post.

Among the others turning back the clock were Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, Formula 1 team principal Ross Brawn and multiple Le Mans winner Jochen Mass. They were joined en route to Brighton by three classic coaches driven by BBC Radio broadcasters Chris Evans, Alex Jones and Ken Bruce raising nearly £350,000 for BBC Children in Need thanks to the generosity of their 40 passengers.

The annual Run is now the only event anywhere where so many veteran cars parade in such numbers.

Other entries included Genevieve from the eponymous 1953 film, a large number of cars from the US celebrating this year’s American theme and significantly the 1901 Isotta Fraschini – chassis number one – the very first car to wear the famous ‘IF’ badge which was making its VCR debut this year.

Mass, Mason and Brawn all made it to Brighton, too. Brawn needing all his engineering skills – and several tie-wraps – to overcome a broken flywheel on his 1904 Wilson Pilcher. “It’s such a fabulous event, we just had to make it to the finish,” he said.

Another impressive finisher was the steam-powered 1888 Truchutet driven by Daniel Ward – the oldest car on the run – believed to be one of the earliest vehicles to have ever completed the event.

In total 342 of the starters managed to complete journey from Hyde Park to the Sussex coast before the 4.30pm deadline, thus receiving their finisher medal.

 

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Drivers cross Westminster Bridge during the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 1, 2015. As many as half a million spectators will line the route of the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run this November, when the longest running motoring event in the world sets off on its annual adventure from London to Brighton. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Regent Street Motor Show

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Supercars are not uncommon in Central London but, even by the capital’s lofty standards, today’s Regent Street Motor Show was very, very special.

The city’s world famous West End shopping street was closed for a very special ‘mile of automotive style’ stretching between Piccadilly and Oxford Circuses as the UK’s largest free-to-view motor show showcased a glittering display of more than 200 cars from past, present and future generations.

Savouring the unseasonably warm weather, hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts, shoppers, London residents and even rugby followers bound for the World Cup Fanzone in near-by Trafalgar Square all relished a huge variety of eye-catching machinery. This year’s Show embraced everything from motoring’s early pioneers to the latest plug-in hybrids with the futuristic Aston Martin DB10 from the new James Bond film Spectre drawing huge crowds.

Representing the dawn of motoring, and right at the heart of the display, was a remarkable collection of 100 pre-1905 machines. As a curtain raiser to Sunday’s running of the annual Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, these were partaking in the EFG International Concours d’Elegance. This year’s judging panel included F1 team principal Ross Brawn and TV personality Edd China. The remarkable 1901 De Dion Bouton Vis- à-Vis owned by Mr and Mrs Gigi Baulino was awarded the overall prize. The outstandingly original machine has been in storage in Italy for nearly a century and is making its VCR debut this year.

 

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There was the chance for those present – as well as further afield – to vote online for their own favourite – the Spectators Special Award, sponsored by Renault going to the gleaming 1903 Mors of Mr Bernard Holmes.

Further north on the packed street and close to Oxford Circus, the focus was very much on motoring today. A team of four technicians from Caterham created a brand new Seven sports car from a pile of parts and amazingly drove the car off the stand at the end of the show. Close by was a special Race Of Champions display promoting the end of season motor sport spectacle, which is back in the UK at the former Olympic Stadium, Stratford on the 20-21 November.

The Go Ultra Low campaign together with Transport for London (TfL) were also busy, with a huge line-up of the latest plug-in and fuel cell vehicles including several zero-emission electric and hydrogen cars. Of particular note was the first UK public viewing for the new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Toyota’s new hydrogen-powered Mirai. Visitors were also given a great opportunity to test-drive some of these increasing popular cars on a near-by street.

Both the Top Gear Experience and McLaren Honda F1 Experience simulators were also busy all day.

 

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London to Brighton run

(All images c. Oliver Edwards)

(All images c. Oliver Edwards)

BRITAIN VETERAN CAR RUN IN PHOTO - Salvesen (steam) 1896The start in Hyde Park of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. Press Association Photo. Picture date Sunday November 3rd, 2013. Photo credit should read: Matt Alexander/PA Wire

Salvesen (steam) 1896 at the start in Hyde Park

 

As dawn breaks on Sunday (1 November) 400+ intrepid drivers and their hardy passengers will deal with whatever the weather has in store to drive 60 miles from London to Brighton. They will be at the wheel – or the tiller – of hundreds of horseless carriages, many of which were built while Queen Victoria was still on the throne.

The first car will leave Hyde Park at 6.54am and for the next couple of hours a huge variety of three and four wheel veterans will stream down Constitution Hill, alongside Buckingham Palace and on to The Mall before heading through Parliament Square and past Big Ben on their way to the coast.

The Harrods Stop at Crawley, the official half way point, will provide a welcome refreshment break in a warm, dry environment with ample parking at the Honda dealership for the veteran cars. Honda will be emptying its forecourt and service bays of modern cars to allow drivers to work on their veterans with assistance from RAC Motoring Services and specialist lubricants from Total.

 

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There are ample viewing opportunities along the way, notably in Crawley High Street where a knowledgeable commentary team will give some background on the veterans on their passage through. A time control check has been established which will provide the perfect opportunity for photos as the cars stop to have their cards stamped. The first cars are expected to pass through Crawley from 8.15 with the last leaving at about 1.45. Brighton expects its first arrival just before 10am with the last finishers ‘putt-putting’ in at 4pm.

As well as cars powered by petrol and some by steam, there will also be a few battery-powered electric vehicles making their way to Brighton. This year’s Run has an American theme – around one in four cars on the Run was built in the Land of the Free.

There are some familiar names in the driving seats, too. Look out for Jochen Mass, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and Ross Brawn, DJs Chris Evans and Ken Bruce, along with Alex Jones from The One Show and Zoe Ball.

More information on the Run can be found here.

 

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