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Thomas Simes, Design Engineer

What did you do before you worked on Bloodhound?

I studied at Swansea University, where I graduated in June 2009 with a MEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering. I then started my career with the MoD’s Defence Engineering and Science Group (DESG) graduate scheme. As part of this scheme, the graduates are encouraged to undertake placements outside of the MoD, and therefore I am working on Bloodhound for a total of five months.

How did you first get involved with the Bloodhound Project?

I was aware that there were already a couple of DESG graduates working at Bloodhound whilst I was on a previous placement, and therefore I contacted Mark Chapman directly about undertaking a placement working within the design team. A short interview later and my involvement was given the go ahead!

What is your role at Bloodhound?

I am working as a design engineer.

What excites you most about the project?

Simply being so involved in a project to break the 1000 mph barrier in a car! Well, that and the fact we are using an 800 bhp V12 race engine purely as a fuel pump...

What are the greatest challenges you will face in building a 1000mph car?

I believe the greatest challenge is that the project is trying to cover entirely new ground. No land vehicle has ever attempted to travel at 1000 mph, and we are therefore trying to design a car to deal with what is relatively unknown and has only ever been simulated.

One aim of Bloodhound is to inspire the next generation of engineers to consider a career in engineering. How do you think Bloodhound can achieve this?

I think the project is already managing to achieve this, through the school and university initiatives that are currently in place. I think that any child that is involved in a project that is planning to go at almost five time the speed of a Formula One car cannot help but be intrigued as to how it manages this.

Were there any engineering projects which inspired you when you were younger?

It may have been a bit before my time, but Concorde was a fantastic engineering project that helped to inspire me to take up engineering as a career. Of course, I also can’t forget Thrust SSC, which really did help to make me move in the right direction, being a mere 11 year old when it broke through the sound barrier for the first time!

Why did you decide to become an engineer?

I chose engineering as I’ve always had a fascination with anything that is vaguely mechanical. Coupled with having a decent knowledge and understanding of mathematics and physics leant itself perfectly to be becoming an engineer.

Did you ever think you would get to work on such an exciting project?

I had hoped to work in motorsport from a younger age, but when I left university the economic downturn had taken a great hit on the British motorsport industry. After this, I never imagined I would be working on such an inspirational project as Bloodhound but I guess luck was on my side.

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