It took expert engineers the equivalent of 30 years in design time to develop a car capable of travelling at 1,000mph. Now schoolchildren have been tasked with modifying the Bloodhound supersonic vehicle to make it go faster.
As part of a Bristol-based initiative aimed at creating a car to shatter the land-speed record, pupils have been using computer-aided design to come up with a virtual speed machine.
Some 200 pupils from schools across the West visited At-Bristol as the virtual vehicles they developed took part in a computer-generated race.
For the last three months, 14- and 15-year-old pupils from 17 schools have been taking part in a team competition, called SPEED: Beat the Bloodhound, which involves developing a virtual car with the best aerodynamic shape.
They used the same state-of-the art software utilised by Bloodhound's aerodynamicists.
The competition was set up by David Standingford from Bristol-based Zenotech Ltd, a leading software-design company, and funded by a Royal Academy of Engineering grant.
Children designed their cars as part of their maths and science lessons, and during after-school science clubs.
They had more than a million design permutations available to them using the basic Bloodhound shape. By varying the ride height, angle of the nose and width of the wheels they changed the aerodynamics of their virtual vehicles.
Simulations were run on the University of Bristol's and the Bristol and Bath Science Park based Centre for Modelling and Simulation (CFMS) supercomputers to calculate the designs' maximum speeds.
Bloodhound project director Richard Noble, who held the land-speed record between 1983 and 1997, announced the winner. The victorious vehicle was created by Year 7 pupils at St Edward's School in Cheltenham and was capable of reaching 1,039.26mph.