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VIDEO & PICTURES - FARNBOROUGH: Bloodhound car sniffs out Hampson

The Bloodhound Project, which is looking to build the world's first car to break the 1,000mph (Mach 1.4/1,600km/h) barrier, has unveiled aerostructures fabricator Hampson Industries as its latest sponsor.

Hampson will construct the 6.2m (20ft) rear end of the car, which includes the mounting for its Eurojet EJ200 jet engine and hybrid rocket propulsion system, at its Wigan plant. Work will start early in 2011.

Richard Noble - Bloodhound, Billypix
© Billypix

Mark Abbey, global marketing and business development director at Hampson, describes the firm's involvement as "a fantastic engineering adventure".

The chassis will be constructed of hard steel with an alloy skin and Abbey says that Hampson's aerospace experience will transfer across. He adds: "We have a long-established history of making similar products.

"Although it's a car there's a lot of similarities with what we produce for the aerospace industry."

Part of the Bloodhound Project's remit is to encourage young people to choose engineering as a carrier. Project co-founder and former land-speed record holder Richard Noble warns that 60% of the skilled workforce in engineering will leave the industry over the next 20 years.

"There's no one to replace these guys when they are gone. What we need is an enormous number of apprentices coming in to the system now."

Equally, schools have an issue getting pupils interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, says Noble, describing the subjects as "dead". He believes that the 1.5 million primary and secondary pupils currently exposed to material generated by Bloodhound's education programme will form the future of the engineering industry. The project will also publish all its technical specifications and test data on the internet as a resource.

Bloodhound is showing the first life-size model of the car at Farnborough, with visits scheduled from some 200 of the 3,676 schools signed up to the project.

As well as inspiring youngsters, Hampson's Abbey believes that it may benefit more experienced engineers as well. He adds: "Anything that gives us an opportunity to entice and encourage people back into the industry should be seized,"

Hampson is likely to ship its part of the car in the second or third quarter of 2011, with the land-speed bid due to take place in autumn 2012 in South Africa.

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