AWE-struck students have been in the presence of a stunning feat of engineering aimed at inspiring future similar projects this week.
Yesterday and today, Gloucestershire College’s campus in the city has been home to the Bloodhound Supersonic Car - the 1,000mph land speed record holder.
It took centre stage at an event held to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.
Students discovered that the 14m long jet-powered vehicle, which travels at the speed of sound and burns one-and-a-half tonnes of fuel on every single run, has a 135,000 thrust-horsepower engine which makes it six times more powerful than every single Formula 1 car on the starting grid.
Sport studies pupil Ismail Kholwadia, 19, said: “It has been fascinating. I don’t think I would have ever had the chance to see this up close in my lifetime.
“You don’t realise how fast it is and I never would have thought it would be this size.”
Director of the Bloodhound Project Richard Noble and his team of experts have described the super-powered vehicle as the “engineering adventure of the 21st Century”.
Not only did higher education students benefit from the event, but primary school pupils were also invited to the dock-side campus where they realised they could become a part of a record-breaking project like this if they excel in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.
Jo Finch, a member of the Bloodhound’s educational team, said there are few places where you can fully flex the muscles of the vehicle.
“The last record was set in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, USA,” she said. “But that is no longer suitable because without regular rainfall you can’t guarantee the surface is renewed.”
Now, the vehicle will be taken to a dry lake in at Haakskeenpan, in the Northern Cape of South Africa. Mrs Finch said the vehicle burns up one-and-a-half tonnes of liquid and solid fuel in each record-breaking run.
College spokesman Michelle Louth said: “Personally I think it is a very exciting area to go into.
“When you are talking about cars travelling at these speeds, this is the sort of work students could find themselves in, which is the whole point of the event.”
The college’s vice-principal for curriculum and quality Lynne Craig said: “Hosting the Bloodhound provides a fantastic opportunity for students to experience at close quarters this advanced technology.
“There is a high demand for skilled scientists, mathematicians and engineers and these STEM subjects are high on the education agenda at the moment.
“It is important for young people to experience first-hand the possible future career opportunities open to them.”
The event provided the chance for students to chat to the people behind the car during National Science and Engineering Week (March 14-23), as well as take part in interactive driving experiences and a number of interactive workshops.
Beside the Bloodhound-related events, student also witnessed a range of wacky science experiments – many of which included chemical reactions and large explosions.
Chloe Kultschar, 17, and Luke Hewitt, 19, both from Gloucester, study performing arts but were nonetheless impressed by the range of activities they took part in at the college, which included making their own mini Bloodhound replica.
Luke said: “It is interesting to see how things work and I don’t often get the chance to do things like this.”