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FARNBOROUGH, England (Reuters Life!) - A British team aiming to smash the current land speed record has unveiled the design of a pencil-shaped car that it hopes will travel at more than 1,000 miles an hour.
After three years of aerodynamic research, construction is about to begin on the Bloodhound Supersonic Car which will be powered by a jet engine and a rocket with the record attempt slated for 2012 in South Africa.
"We have fixed the shape," said Andy Green, the Royal Air Force fighter pilot who will drive the Bloodhound as it attempts to speed into the record books.
"Because of the modeling we have done, we know this shape will go to 1,000 miles an hour. Now we are actually going to get on and build it."
The same team, led by Briton Richard Noble, hold the current record of 763 mph set in 1997. At that stage Green became the first man to travel at supersonic speed on land, breaking the sound barrier.
Powered by a combination of a Typhoon fighter's jet engine and a Falcon rocket, the car unveiled at the Farnborough International Air Show will develop 135,000 horse power or 180 times the power of a Formula 1 car.
The record attempt, on a dry lake bed, will see it accelerate from stationary to 1,000 mph (1,609kph) in 4.5 miles (7.25km) in 45 seconds.
But the team say their mission is not just to break the land speed record -- they want to inspire the next generation of engineers and technologists.
Since the project was announced in October 2008 at the Science Museum in London, more than 1.5 million British school children have become involved in the Bloodhound Education program.
Editing by Belinda Goldsmith