Land speed record team launch Weston College's new Automotive Technology Centre

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By YouPR | Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 15:16

The launch of Weston College's new Automotive Technology Centre (ATC) was marked in spectacular style this week with a stunning display from the Bloodhound land speed record team.

The Bristol-based team arrived on Monday complete with a full-scale replica of the car that it is hoped will travel at more than 1,000 miles per hour in late 2016, shattering the current land speed record.

Traffic ground to a halt on Locking Road, Weston-super-Mare, as drivers watched the 44ft replica roll into the new ATC at the College's Construction and Engineering Centre of Excellence (CECE) for a three-day stay. The project's education and technical team accompanied the car, and were on hand for the duration of the stay, hosting visits from schools and members of the public.

Bloodhound's visit marked the launch of Weston College's £1 million centre for the training of young mechanics and engineers. Based in the former Renault garage, the ATC includes two large workshops, computer suites and hi-tech classrooms.

Dr Paul Phillips, Weston College Principal and Chief Executive, formally cut the ribbon on Monday evening to mark the ATC's opening. He said that only a few years ago, there was very little in the way of vehicle engineering training in the area.

"We set out to do something about this," he said, "and so we obtained these premises and set to work. Now our success rates for motor vehicle training are top of the league table in the South West and this is down to our dedicated staff and this state-of-the-art centre."

Dr Phillips went on to talk about future aspirations for automotive engineering and the next stages of capital investment.

Tony Parraman, Bloodhound's Head of Sponsor Liaison, gave invited guests - including College staff, students, governors, members of the public, representatives of local companies and North Somerset councillors - a keynote speech packed full of facts about the car and the world record attempt. He told the gathering that Bloodhound can travel faster than a bullet from a .357 Magnum revolver and can complete a mile in 3.7 seconds.

The world record attempt will be made by RAF fighter pilot Wing Commander Andy Green, who has previously set world land speed records.

Also on show at the ATC was a collection of rally and motor sport vehicles collected by by Club Rallysport West, who are working with Weston College to improve awareness of motor sports among the College's trainee motor mechanics.

Paul Gavins, Weston College's Curriculum Coordinator at the ATC, said: "Already there has been a great reaction to Bloodhound's arrival and it's obvious there is a great deal of public interest and support for the project.

"Our trainees and apprentices are fascinated by it, and the Bloodhound team have been very informative and helpful. This visit is a great way to mark the ATC's launch."

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