Richard Noble, one of the key brains behind Britain’s latest bid to break the world land speed record, has spoken exclusively to Autocar about his “unique project without precedent”.
The project director of Bloodhound SSC says his team are facing an enormous challenge as they can’t draw inspiration from any other sector.
“We can’t draw anything from any industry, be it aerospace or automotive, so what we’re doing is without precedent,” he said. “We set out to create a unique project and what we’ve ended up with is a real jaw-dropper.”
Thrust SSC, a project Noble was also involved in, currently holds the record with 763mph. Bloodhound is aiming to crack 1000mph and will begin its attempts in South Africa in 2011.
Noble says the 27-month design process has been “sheer hell” and the team have gone through 10 design evolutions to reach this point. The team have had to undergo a fundamental redesign at one stage to reposition the car’s rocket from above the jet engine to below it.
“It was one of those light-bulb moments,” said Noble. “Usually with design you tend to make small changes but this wasn’t the case here. We design things and then put them through the computer design software and usually find them to be completely hopeless, but we’ve got there now.”
Noble says the team have spent more than £2 million to reach the point where they have a car ready to build.
“We have got the rocket, a design, the engine and the place to build it, so we’ve now just got to get on and build it,” he said. “We’ve got money left in the bank but we’re working on more funding all the time.”
The team needs £6.3m to “get the car out of the door”, and more will be needed to fund the record attempts.
The public are also being invited to take part by paying £10 to get their name on the fin of the car. There are 333,000 spaces and more than half the funding for the car will be reached if these spaces are filled. You can add your name to the car by clicking here.
Noble is also pleased with the impact the car is having on British engineering.
“Engineering university applications at the two universities who we’re working with are up enormously,” he said. “We’ve found there’s a chronic shortage of engineers in this country and with this project we aim to do something about that.
“We’ve also got more than 2000 primary schools involved and hope we can inspire the next generation of engineers.”