The land speed record for a wheeled vehicle currently stands at just over 763 mph, or a fraction below 1228 kph. That is supersonic speed. These guys want to get to 1050 mph, however, with a triple-engine vehicle called the Bloodhound. One of the engines is that used on a formula one race car... and that's just the fuel pump.
Now, while that would be an impressive feat of engineering, do we really WANT to make a car that fast? A car that would only be driven to break the record, then enshrined and left useless forever, as there are few areas in the world where it could ever be safely operated? A car that burns one ton of fuel in 20 seconds? Do we really want to do that NOW?
As impressed as I am with what "the goddamned engineers" (meant quite affectionately) can do in this day and age, I cannot help but cringe with shame at the thought of people spending this much money and power to build a rocket car to go drive in the desert for a few days, while people are suffering, starving, or dying of easily preventable diseases all over the world in the meantime...
And the absolute land speed record, by the way, is mach 8.5. It is held by an unmanned rail vehicle, ostensibly because a human would be unable to survive the pressures associated with such speed at ground level. Sounds like an empty victory to me. :(
Would you then use the same argument on the Olympics, and that the billions of dollars invested in competitive sport are wasted?
I am no expert in the design of supersonic vehicles. Standready is studying engineering, so may be in a better position to comment, but as far as I can see, the advancement of technology for the development of better supersonic vehicles, could be used in other industries as well. Whatever design is perfected to get those machines to propel faster could be employed in ancillary disciplines such as possibly aviation and aerospace as well. I'd rather that billions go into this sport, than billions into tennis and golf tournaments. Or worse, billions in the Hollywood and Bollywood industries.
Any new technologies, designs, or techniques used in building this car will probably have some other uses somewhere else besides just really fast cars.
Viewed from another angle, when we stop trying to advance and better ourselves, we begin the slide to degeneracy. A complacent attitude of "we've got enough technology, let's do something else" will lead to nowhere but stagnation.
I have to agree that Hollywood/Bollywood being overfed, but the Olympics are a massive diplomatic endeavor. They also inspire millions of people to perform in sports, which can be a road out of poverty or social repression, and further inspire others to do the same. The technology being employed in the Bloodhound is already proven in the aerospace industry; there is little room for epiphany and advancement with this project, except possibly some advancements in coupling tire traction to aerodynamic down pressure.
Or from yet another angle, when the pride of those humans in control drives them to expend massive resources on displays of their power while the vast majority of their brethren are dying of starvation and simple disease, we begin the slide into degeneracy.
This would ring true if there were any theoretical technology being applied in the Bloodhound, but there is not... again, with the exception of some tire traction stuff that is actually pretty tame. Perhaps the only contribution the project offers to the public at large is the educational opportunity of making the designs, testing, and final run available to education. Still, I wonder that it is an advancement to apply advanced but proven technology to an ultimately useless craft. When the capabilities of the craft outstrip the world's providence of locations to make use of it, I think you've teched yourself into a corner.
Now, if we needed a superfast car to get between colonies on the moon (and if the moon were an environment capable of allowing superfast traction, which it is not, due to lesser gravity and minimal atmosphere), then I could understand the endeavor to build one.
The technology make some people more powerfull. If these people will use it to make the life of many persons better or will use without a good philosofy depends of political wish. The atomic bomb (and similar massive destructive weapons) is the more bad exemple in our history.
Projects like the Bloodhound are much better for a country's future economy than say setting up networks of gambling casinos!