A British team has launched its attempt to hold on to the world land speed record with a car that could reach 1,000mph.
The Bloodhound Project aims to smash the existing top speed of 763mph set by Wing Commander Andy Green in 1997.
The same team now hopes to raise the bar and keep the record in UK hands — as it has been for 25 years.
At the launch, Science Minister Lord Drayson said: “The prestige that goes to the country that holds the record should not be underestimated. It demonstrates a can-do attitude and the skills and manufacturing talent of that country.”
The car will weigh the same as four family saloons but be 1,200 times as powerful, reaching speeds of up to 450m per second — about the length of four football pitches. It will need to be as tough as a submarine, withstanding 12 tonnes of force per square metre.
But the project, named after a missile, also aims to encourage more children to study engineering.
Project leader Richard Noble said: “Going fast is not the total reason for doing this. We’re setting off today on the most incredible engineering adven
ture which we hope will inspire the future generations to take up careers in science, engineering and technology.”
More than 300 companies and universities are taking part, including Swansea and the University of West England, where the project will be based. Wing Commander Green, who will be behind the wheel of the car, said: “It’s not just about a fast car. This is also an aspiration, a vision to inspire.”
The team hopes to build the car by the end of next year, and to have reached the 1,000mph mark by 2011.
Competitors have already emerged in Australia and the US. Follow the project’s progress at www.bloodhoundssc.com .