Richard Noble

Director of The Bloodhound project

United Kingdom

Richard Noble OBE specializes in high-risk high-technology innovative projects and Bloodhound is his 12th start up. Projects include the ARV light aircraft (design and production), the Atlantic Sprinter Atlantic challenge racer (never built) and the Farnborough F1 aircraft now going into production in the US as Kestrel. 

Most famous are the World Land Speed Record cars: Thrust2, which returned the World Record to Britain for the first time in 19 years, and its 1997 successor ThrustSSC which, driven by Andy Green, achieved the first ever supersonic World Record, currently at 763mph/Mach 1.02.

Britain once had a fine record for innovation but national culture changes meant Noble’s projects proved difficult to finance. This was overcome using innovative sponsorship funding and by developing flat companies which are highly productive and highly stimulating for the teams. For the ThrustSSC project, key innovation was to develop web community building. 

The global ThrustSSC Internet community followed development of the car and when the team was unable to raise the finance for the jet fuel needed for the borrowed freighter aircraft to take the team to the US, the Internet community funded 1 million liters. The web response was very considerable, running 300 million pages in dial-up in 1997. 

The Bloodhound project is heading for 1,000mph in 2013, being the most powerful car ever built with research taking 30 man years. Using massive web interest, the project is designed to share all the design and data with schools to stimulate study of science and engineering. In Britain, 4,600 schools are taking part and the project is being followed in 207 countries. The car will even be able to take the low-level aircraft speed record.  Truly an engineering adventure!