Supersonic car’s engineering aims

Richard Noble OBE
Richard Noble OBE
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A dire shortfall of engineering graduates is threatening the future of British industry – but a supersonic car that can travel faster than a bullet could be turning the tide.

The Bloodhound SSC will be aiming to smash through the sound barrier and break the land speed record at 1,000mph in a desert in South Africa’s Northern Cape next year. But meanwhile the science behind its creation is turning on the next generation of physicists and mathematicians.

Richard Noble OBE told delegates at the YIBC his Bloodhound SSC is a battle of physics – and one giant science project for UK schoolchildren.

“Bloodhound’s aim is not only the speed record. It is to engage science and maths pupils,” he said. “There is a dire shortfall in engineering graduates – we need 100,000 a year to keep pace with the rest of the world and we are only getting 30,000.

“Primary school children need to be seeing real world data and examples to be fully engaged in physics.

“Bloodhound is touring schools, including South Yorkshire’s, to make pupils part of the adventure,” added Noble, who with no engineering background, in 1974 sold his sports car to buy a jet engine and build Thrust, which went on to smash the land speed record at 633 mph.

He praised the “capabilities and passion” of Sheffield firm Newburgh Engineering, whose experts are creating Bloodhound’s suspension components.

“Newburgh were in it right from the beginning. Their commitment and passion is really important because they are going to be pushed to deliver,” he added.

“What is also very exciting is that their apprentices are very involved in the project. There is an enormous legacy here.

“Data from the Bloodhound project will be fully available. We have a no-patents policy. It is going to cause change.”