A Hartlepool man looks set to pilot an attempt on the land speed record in the next 18 months, say project bosses.
The Bloodhound supersonic car, driven by Wing Commander Andy Green, who grew up and went to school in town, aims to set a new 1,000mph world record.
Bosses behind the project say they are working behind the scenes in a bid to improve their ability to raise funds, although they are remaining tigh-lipped about the details.
But bosses say that as a result the team has re-evaluated plans for running the car.
Project director Richard Noble said: “The opportunity now exists to reduce the time delay between conducting the high-speed tests and the first record attempt.
“Bloodhound SSC will therefore be flown to Northern Cape, South Africa, in May 2019, ready to take advantage of a desert surface freshly conditioned by seasonal flooding.
“A record attempt will be made later in the year, October–November.
“The car will remain in South Africa between events, greatly reducing logistics costs.”
Development of the mono-propellant rocket required for the first record attempt will resume in August, with tests taking place at Newquay Aero Hub, scene of Bloodhound SSC’s successful 200mph shakedown runs.
The Project is an international education initiative focussed around a 1,000mph (1,609km/h) World Land Speed Record.
At full speed, Bloodhound SSC will cover a mile (1.6km) in 3.6 seconds.
The World Land Speed Record of 763mph (1,228km/h) is held by Thrust SSC, a UK team led by Bloodhound’s Richard Noble and driven by Andy Green, who went to High Tunstall secondary school in the 1970.