Indianapolis – Memo of aspiring young engineers to become the next bright minds at the top level of motorsport.
Get your hands dirty by pulling your nose from the laptop for a while.
Racing teams are exploring the world for the next generation of engineers, especially as the sport moves deeper into hybrid and electrical technology. But the product that is becoming more difficult to find is someone with the knowledge who can turn a wrench.
Mike Hall, managing director of 14-time Indica series champion four-time Indianapolis 500-winning team Chip Gansi Racing, says he can use a six-pack kid with a combination of knowledge and skills.
“All race teams at all levels are big now,” Hull said. “As they get older, it reduces the pool of people who want to do it. When we find a keeper, we work hard to keep them folded and we advise them quite well.”
For example, the Gansi team works closely with Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, which offers motorsports degrees in engineering. Ganasi’s technical director, Julian Robertson, works with the school’s students, as well as with the curriculum, to guide the practical side of what an engineer has to do in Indica Racing, as opposed to a strictly academic-driven program.
“We encourage all the students there to get involved in the racing program in one way or another, even if they volunteer for a racing program on the weekends,” said Hull. “That’s why they get their hands on it, so they understand the textbook to be on par with the practical side of driving. All the interns we have taken in the last few years are doing it in one fashion or another. ”
He says practical experience makes a big difference in terms of how a student studies, what they find, and how they combine that experience with what they have learned in class.
“While practical engineering was important, it’s probably a direct comparison to how we all grew up,” Hull said. “Now, applied engineering and educational engineering are becoming more important as we move forward with the technology that is ahead of us.”
The IndyCar series is moving towards hybrid technology, which will be part of the new engine formula launched in 2024.
“Your road car had a four-barrel carburetor, but today your road car has an electric-controlled fuel system. Your car is electrically operated today, ”Hull said. “Today the racing team has a lot of depth technology available that we never had because we didn’t have automobiles. An example of what is going on today with Indica Racing and Sportscar Racing is that the next stage of development for both will be hybrid technology because that is what road vehicles are doing.
“Engineering qualifications need to move quickly. We’re trying to find young, brilliant engineers around the world today who want to be able to work in vehicle control centered around hybrid and electrical technology, because that’s the next thing we’ll race. Universities around the world are working on it, and we will work on it sooner rather than later today. “
And if a young man gets his hands dirty under a race car, this is what the “keeper” race team wants.