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Richard Noble's 1000mph car on track to break record

24th November 2010

The British project to develop a 1,000mph car is on target to meet its goals, says director Richard Noble who held the World Land Speed record in the 1980’s. With the attempt on the World Land Speed record expected to take place in 2012, construction of the rear of the Bloodhound vehicle with begin in the new year.

Richard told BBC News, "We've got companies all over the world wanting to sponsor the car."

"We've actually got more people who want to financially back this thing than we've got space for them."

Richard has also made an appeal for people to start to help prepare the vehicle’s race track. He places a light-hearted advert in Monday’s London Times newspaper looking for UK volunteers to go out to the dried-up lake bed in Northern Cape Province, South Africa, known as Hakskeen Pan.

Before the Bloodhound car can hurtle across this flat expanse of land, it must be cleared of all loose stones. A rock thrown up at 1,000mph has the potential to do serious damage to the car's thin alloy bodywork and even cripple its four solid aluminium wheels. 

With the assistance of the Northern Cape government, work has just started to prepare the track. A team of 300 local people has begun sweeping an area 20km x 1.5km, picking up any stones in their path.
The advert Richard placed in the paper on Monday promised: "No wages, constant heat, tough work in beautiful but remote Hakskeen Pan… Scorpions may be present. Inspiring next generation of engineers the reward."

It bears striking resemblance to the famous advertisement reputed to have been placed in papers 100 years ago by the Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton as he sought volunteers for one of his expeditions. Shackleton's ad was said to have warned applicants that their safe return could not be guaranteed.

However, the Bloodhound track preparation should not be quite so dramatic or dangerous as a Shackleton expedition!

The Bloodhound project was conceived as way of promoting science and engineering to young people. The development of the car has been accompanied by a huge educational programme in British schools.

To claim the World Land Speed record, Bloodhound will have to better the mark of 763mph (1,228km/h) set by the Thrust SuperSonic Car in 1997. It will be powered by a combination of a hybrid rocket and a jet engine from a Eurofighter-Typhoon.

The project still has some way to go to meet its funding objectives but Richard said he was now confident it would all come together: "It's quite clear it's going to happen now."

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