Dedication’s what you need: model rocket car breaks world record

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logo for the Bloodhound SSC project

A film has been made showing pupils at the Joseph Leckie Community Technology College in Walsall firing a model car across their playground at over 80mph.

Teacher, Trevor Howard, was inspired by his experience with the Thrust SuperSonic Car (SSC) team in the 1990s, which broke the world land-speed record – and the sound barrier. He approached his old heroes for help to pass on his inspiration and enthusiasm to his pupils at Joseph Leckie Community Technology College in Walsall.

The SSC team, led by Sir Richard Noble, have moved on to even greater heights with their latest project, Bloodhound, a rocket-powered car with which they aim to break the 1,000mph barrier. The Bloodhound team supported the students with technical and engineering guidance and were on hand to cheer on the world record attempt on 27 May 2011.

The design, manufacture, running and recording of the car was carried out by students in years 9 and 12 who were able to experience a real-life application for the maths and physics they were learning.

The previous record stood at 75 mph. The car built at Joseph Leckie set the new Guinness World Record at 88.92 mph.

Gerry Heather from the Bloodhound Education Team said:

It’s not just about being in the classroom, it’s about how you can apply this knowledge in an interesting and fun way.

The Bloodhound Education Programme continues to excite and inspire young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics with 1.5 million schoolchildren now involved in the programme.

The Bloodhound project is sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and uses state-of-the-art technology made possible by cutting-edge science. EPSRC is a founder sponsor of the Bloodhound SSC project, funding the vital aerodynamic research carried out at Swansea University. Work has begun on the construction of the car- which will be powered by a jet engine and a rocket. It will be able to go from nought to 1,000 miles per hour in 45 seconds.

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Notes for editors

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change.

The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone’s health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via research Councils UK.

Bloodhound SSC

Bloodhound SSC is the name of a project aiming to break the land speed record with a pencil-shaped car powered by a jet engine and a rocket designed to reach approximately 1,000 miles per hour (1,609 km/h). It is being developed and built with the intention of breaking the land speed record by the largest ever margin.

The project was announced on 23 October 2008 at the Science Museum in London by Lord Drayson, the Minister of Science in the UK's Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, who in 2006 first proposed the project to Richard Noble and Andy Green; the two men who between them have held the land speed record for 25 years.

Reference: PN 29-11