Richard Noble's Bloodhound Project diary

As we approach the all important BLOODHOUND project launch, this is a great opportunity to look back at what has been achieved during the research period and what remains to be completed.

In financial terms we achieved 99% of target at £1,128,401 and we spent £744,022, which was 66% of budget. This showed great efficiencies from the design team, but of course there were various elements of the work which were not achieved.

1. We had planned to achieved at least one firing of the 18 in rocket, but this has had to be delayed for various reasons. We have changed suppliers and are developing our own in-house systems team under Dr John Davis which will handle all the car's very complex systems.

2. We have not been able to build and spin test a wheel. This programme was being handled by Glynne Bowsher, who decided to leave the project. When we picked up the wheel programme, the project had moved on and there was doubt about the big titanium wheels. For running on salt we need to develop a much lighter wheel to reduce unsprung weight.

We have started to see important changes in culture - there is much less of the old hierarchy culture, the old Formula 1 way of doing things and much more of the collaborative culture. There is also the beginnings of a realisation that we might after all be able to bring this project off – the level of commitment is building and there is a realisation dawning that all the hard work is resulting in a viable car.

In the BLOODHOUND Educational Team (BET) team we are restructuring, looking for an Education Director who will be responsible for the education content going to the schools. We are also looking for a Delivery Director who will be responsible for making sure that the material is getting to the schools and that we have the programme structured right.

The BET team has achieved tremendous support from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCFS) and the Minister Jim Knight - but we have a very long way to go.

However, there is a huge problem developing – the Filton building is proving incredibly expensive to reconstruct and we have to get the budget down to more realistic figures. The development of the Visitor Centre will be handled by Dave Rowley, BET Director.

As the BET advances, it is likely that we shall be working closely with the suppliers to modify and improve the existing projects. There is absolutely no precedent or template for what we are trying to do and we are going to need a considerable effort from the BET team to pull this through.

Richard Noble

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