Bloodhound team admitted the project will be delayed by a year while unveiling the new Technical Centre in Avonmouth, Bristol, and receiving an extra £1m public outreach grant.
During the event, David Willetts, UK’s Minister for Universities and Science, has helped engineers working on the rocket-powered car to attach the carbon composite front section to the metal rear chassis that will house the car’s custom-designed rocket engine - reaching an important milestone in Bloodhound's development.
The car, slated to beat the world speed record for a wheeled vehicle, is designed to drive up to 1,600 km/h and become only the second car in the history to reach the speed of sound. Originally, it was expected the record-beating attempt will take place during 2014. However, the team has said today the schedule will most probably be delayed by a year as the venture proved to be more challenging than expected.
Driving the car in the South African desert will be Andy Green, the same man who holds the previous 1997 world land speed record.
“Bloodhound is British science and engineering at its visionary best. The project’s success will not only be measured in miles per hour, but also in how it inspires future generations,” Willetts said during an announcement of further £1m being awarded to the project for education and public outreach purposes. “This new investment will help show even more young people how rewarding science and engineering careers can be.”
Bloodhound’s supporters believe the new grant, awarded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will help the project better meet its other critical goal – inspiring children to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
“EPSRC has supported the Bloodhound Project since 2008. It’s an exciting example of Science and Engineering which has already inspired young people,” said Professor David Delpy, EPSRC Chief Executive. “We want that educational work to progress beyond the actual land speed record attempt and this funding will help the team achieve even more by firing the imagination of tomorrow’s research leaders.”
Materials used and developed during the Bloodhound project are already being used in 5,340 UK schools including primary and secondary schools and special needs colleges.
“This grant is an endorsement of all the work done by our team and ambassadors since then, and it will help us work with more schools and inspire even more children as the car rolls out and we share the images and data from record breaking runs with them,” Richard Noble, Bloodhound’s Project Director commented.
16 years old Jess Herbert has also shared her experience with the involvement in the Bloodhound project. “I first heard about the Project when I was 13 and thought it was incredibly ambitious and exciting,” said one of the 12 Rolls-Royce apprentices. “It really showed what engineering is all about: the challenge, the creativity, the teamwork and the problem solving. It helped me realise that this is the career path I wanted to follow.”