JAWS dropped at a Dartford secondary school as a 1,000 miles-per-hour landspeed record hopeful raced into town.

The team behind Bloodhound Supersonic Car, which will attempt to smash the fastest car record in South Africa next year by sending the speedo into four figures, visited Wilmington Grammar School for Boys on Tuesday, February 28, accompanied by a life-sized 13ft replica.

Head teacher Andy Williamson said: "It was one of those jaw-dropping moments when the kids walked into the playground and saw it."

Wilmington School was chosen as one of three Bloodhound study centres because of its credentials as the only specialist engineering school in Kent and its award-winning efforts in the F1 for Schools and Primary Engineering contests.

Mr Williamson said: "The Bloodhound project has two parts. The obvious part is to break the landspeed record and the other part is to try to inspire engineers across the country."

Around 50 businessmen and local dignataries, including Mayor of Dartford, Councillor Eddy Lampkin, attended a business breakfast and presentation about the car at the school before 50 pupils from 10 primary schools were shown the car.

In the afternoon, secondary school children got to grips with the machine. As well as presentations, there was a simulator and a chance for pupils to design their own supersonic car and make it using a state-of-the-art 3D printer.

Wilmington pupil Samuel Webb, 12, said: "Since I can remember, I have been interested in fast cars and hope one day to have a career in car design or motorsport. The day was fantastic, especially the presentation when the Bloodhound car raced against the Eurofighter jet and won. "

As part of the partnership with Bloodhound, Wilmington pupils will visit testing of the rocket in the west country later in year and Mr Williamson hopes some pupils will be able to go to South Africa for the record attempt.

The Bloodhound SSC

The current landspeed record of 763mph is held by the Thrust SSC.

The Thrust driver, fighter pilot Andy Green, will also take the wheel of the Bloodhound.

Bloodhound hopes its car will reach 1050mph – or Mach 1.4 – and will accelerate to 1,000mph in 42 seconds, faster than a speeding bullet.

It will be powered by a jet engine from a Eurojet EJ200 plane, a Cosworth Formula One engine and a hybrid powered rocket.