A SCOTTISH company have made bulletproof wheels which will help a supersonic car attempt to smash the world’s land speed record.
The team behind the British Bloodhound supersonic car is attempting to break the record and attract the highest internet audience ever whilst reaching speeds of over 1,000mph.
Last October, Felix Baumgartner’s jump from a balloon into space attracted 8m viewers to watch the Austrian’s leap of faith.
The Bloodhound team hope that RAF Wing Commander Andy Green’s attempt to drive over 1,000mph will pull in an even larger audience from over 207 countries.
The team are using specially designed bulletproof wheels from Glasgow-based company, Castle Precision Engineering, for the record attempt in South Africa’s Hakskeen Pan.
Yan Tiefenbrun, director of Castle Precision Engineering, explained that the project was not just about speed.
He said: “More than anything, this project is about firing the imagination of young people. Involvement on the project forms an integral part of our and the other project partners’ drive
to encourage and attract the next generation of talented young people into engineering and STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] careers.
“This is vital to the rebalancing of the economy and to continuing to build a UK industry based on innovation and high value manufacturing.
“For more than two decades, engineering and industry in the UK has been carrying an image of decline and yet just underneath the surface is a real manufacturing powerhouse.
“In aerospace alone, the UK has a 17% global market share, making it the largest aerospace industry in Europe and the second only to the US globally…the issue is that most people have no idea that this sector or any of these companies exist.”
He added: “You cannot inspire or attract a generation of young people to a career they barely know exists, and industry cannot continue to sustain its position with the huge shortage of engineers in this country.
“When framed like this, you realise that the project isn’t just fanciful, it’s vital in shaping the industry’s future.”
Mr Tiefenbrun said that the huge interest in Felix Baumgartner’s jump “shows how much mankind is drawn to those events that push the boundaries” and he predicted that the land speed record would bring in a similar audience.
A spokesman for Bloodhound said: “We expect Bloodhound’s record breaking runs to attract the same if not higher viewing figures than Felix’s jump.
“There will be 15 cameras mounted on and in the car. There will be at least one pointing at Andy and one at the dashboard and looking down the desert. The other will be mounted on the tail fin, looking forwards and backwards, at the wheels and the body work.
“We’ll be able to stream footage from three of these at a time.
“The car is going to be completely wired with sensors, everything from the speed, temperature in the three engines, loading on the suspension and angle of the steering wheel will be streamed in real time to the web, along with three video channels for free.
“People around the world can join the adventure and see exactly what is happening as the record attempts are made.”
Telecoms giant MTN are installing masts in the Northern Cape in South Africa for 4G network coverage in the region, seven years earlier than expected, which will make streaming possible.
These masts will relay footage from the Hakskeen Pan to a fibre optic cable while Bloodhound will have a studio in the desert.
They will be broadcasting preparations, a run, a one-hour pit stop while a new rocket is loaded and the car is refuelled and a return run back through the desert.
The land speed record currently stands at 763mph, set by Andy Green in the Black Rock Desert, American in 1997.