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Land speed record team signs-up a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

9th September 2011 Print
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Mercedes-Benz dealer Rossetts Commercials has sniffed out a supersonic sponsorship partner in the shape of the BLOODHOUND Project, creator of a jet- and rocket-powered car designed to break the 1,000mph barrier, smash the world land speed record and – most importantly – inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

The manufacturer’s representative for Surrey and Sussex has supplied the BLOODHOUND Project with a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 313CDI van, which is now being used to transport technicians and the equipment they use when staging public presentations of their awesome machine.

At 129hp the Long-bodied van’s 2148cc common rail, turbocharged diesel cannot quite match the power output of the car’s custom-built Falcon rocket, which produces 27,500lbs of thrust – equivalent to 77,500hp or 645 family saloons – and works in unison with a jet engine.

But its low-emission Euro 5 credentials mean the strikingly-liveried Sprinter wins hands down when it comes to miles-per-gallon, while it is also a good deal easier to manoeuvre – pencil thin and over 12 metres (40ft) long, the rocket car has no reverse gear and a turning circle of 120 metres, which makes parking somewhat tricky!

In fact, its technologically advanced specification makes the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter a perfect ‘fit’ for the Bloodhound Project. And that’s because speed is not the car’s only purpose; rather, it is the focal point of an education programme designed to inspire young people to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM subjects) by showcasing them in the most exciting way possible – through the development of a car that’s faster than a bullet.

More than 4,500 UK schools have signed up to bring their science and maths lessons to life by using BLOODHOUND’s curriculum-ready resources, while design and operational data is being made available live on the web as the project develops, thus enabling tomorrow’s scientists and engineers to follow the project’s progress in the finest technical detail.

Some 220 high-tech engineering companies across the UK are producing key components for the car and after runway testing in the UK the team aim to be on the Hakskeen Pan in South Africa’s Northern Cape to begin high speed testing in 2013.

The BLOODHOUND Project is funded entirely by corporate sponsorship and public donations and Director Richard Noble welcomed the support of Rossetts Commercials, which has headquarters in Worthing and other dealerships in Aldershot, Crawley and Eastbourne.

“‘We had one hell of a problem!” recalled Mr Noble. “We are best described as an aerospace company financed by sponsorship and public donation, and demand for the project at exhibitions and schools was growing at an exponential rate.

“Our cashflow, which has to be spent on the project engineering, didn’t permit long term lease or purchase, so we were hiring vans which meant we had constantly to load and unload them, and our presentation didn’t look good.

“And then along came Perry Reeves from Rossetts who could see the opportunity immediately. The deal was done quickly and we now have the smartest van on the road. The project is still expanding fast and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is going to do a huge mileage! We are extremely grateful to Rossetts for their help.”

Rossetts Commercials Dealer Principal Perry Reeves confirmed: “The BLOODHOUND Project is a truly inspiring British initiative and we are delighted to become one of its sponsors.”

The deal was agreed after Richard Noble delivered a lecture to a joint meeting of the Institute of the Motor Industry and Institute of Road Transport Engineers - Perry is a Full Member of the IMI and a Fellow of the IRTE, as well as its Southern Centre Chairman. The Mercedes-Benz man was hugely impressed by what he heard.

“At Rossetts Commercials we rely constantly on our qualified engineering staff to solve technological problems in order to keep our customers’ vehicles on the road,” Perry explained.

“But it’s not just workshop roles that require technical and mathematical knowledge. Our sales staff make calculations on a host of factors such as payloads and load volumes, and must also understand things like drive ratios if we are to supply our customers with vehicles built to the optimum specification for the task. Even the graphic designers in our marketing department use vectors in their work.

“So anything we can do to help encourage youngsters to take an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is going to benefit our company in the future. And how can something as exciting as the BLOODHOUND Project fail to get them motivated?”

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Mercedes-Benz Sprinter