THEY work for a company called Caterpillar - but they are planning to go a lot faster than the name suggests.

Six apprentices employed by Caterpillar Marine Power UK are preparing to compete in the Daily Echo-backed British Pedal Car Grand Prix, which takes place in Ringwood next Sunday.

Design engineer Jonny Dean floated the idea in January, giving the team just six months to design and build their entry.

The employees, Dominic Burgees, Nathan Cordy, Charlotte Guest, Aaron Palmer, Genny Perez and Robert Sherlock have built the car in their own time.

They stayed behind every Friday after the Wimborne factory closed and everyone else went home for the weekend.

Mr Dean said: “The apprentices have done all the work themselves with the support of the design engineers and the rest of the team.

“New skills such as welding, fabrication and project management have been gained along the way.

“The team have really pulled together and have gone way outside their comfort zone to get the project up and running.

"This is a project made up of many parts. We have three big steps to go, finishing the car, getting to the start line and the real endurance challenge - two hours of pedalling.

“We know fitness has been factored in so hopefully that should be the straightforward bit.”

The British Pedal Car Grand Prix is an annual spectacle which turns a set of Hampshire streets into a racetrack resembling the millionaires’ playground of Monaco. The action-packed event alternates between two venues, with New Milton hosting it one year and Ringwood the next.

Market Square and other roads in the town centre will be closed to traffic to enable the two-hour contest to take place at 3pm.

The deadline for entries has now passed, with more than 30 teams signing up for the event.

A huge number of people are expected to line the streets to watch the crazy collection of homemade vehicles battle it out.

One of the cars has been entered by this year’s main sponsor, Ringwood Brewery, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Race director Tony Butterworth said: “Thousands of people turn up to watch, with most people picking their favourite car and cheering it on.

“It’s always a lot of fun and generates a carnival-type atmosphere.”