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Thread: Brad Keselowski says US not producing enough quality race engineers

  1. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Bolton, CT
    Quote Originally Posted by billywight View Post
    Exactly, this is the problem.
    ^^ Strongly agree! Though I'm not sure I would call it a problem per-se. Employers do want people who can contribute right away, but I'm not sure all do a good job of "priming" the pump. I know the places I've worked at did not always do a good job of finding interns, etc. to try and pre-populate their future applicant pool.

    It is difficult to find "plug-and-play" engineers right out of college. This really isn't isolated to the racing industry, though this forum is potentially more sensitive to it. Before returning back to school full time, I spent 5 years working as a test designer and thermal fluids modeler in the power generation industry. With the exception of myself and one or two others who had interned for 2+ years before starting full time and were willing to work 80+ hour weeks (at a significantly higher salary than any pro racing job BTW), most starting engineers in the groups I worked in failed and either washed out quickly or settled for marginal performance. These were not unintelligent or ill-educated people either; they just had no professional experience and no one had enough time to devote to training them. The expectation was that new employees would come in and begin contributing immediately (not sure who came up with that one, I still can't understand how that is ever a reasonable expectation).

    In any case, the moral of the story is that like exFSAE said, professional experience is exceedingly important.
    Last edited by jd74914; 06-19-2014 at 07:32 AM.
    "Old guy #1" at UCONN Racing

  2. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Airports, A320\'s, 737\'s
    Having made the jump from FSAE/F-Hybrid I would say that there is a decent step between the college level and the professional environment. It's not necessarily the intelligence level, but a level of professionalism and the way you carry yourself/behave at the track. This isn't knocking the FSAE series or any of the students... its just that to become a race engineer at the top tier of motorsports (Indycar, NASCAR, F1, V8 Supercars...) you really need to gain some experience elsewhere and work your way up the ladder. My thoughts are that Europe has many more ways for an engineer to gain this experience. There are many more stable feeder series that take engineering seriously, where one can get a job/paid internship and gain valuable experience. The US has the Formula Mazdas, then Indy lights neither of which have numerous opportunities for an engineer to cut his or her teeth.
    "Man, I need to practice more!" - Kenny Wallace
    "Try not to have a good time... this is supposed to be educational." - Charles M Schulz
    -OptimumG 2005-2006
    -Turner Motorsports 2008-2009
    -Black Swan Racing 2010 & 2011 Team and Driver's Champions
    -HPD Race Engineer 2011-2014
    -Currently Freelance Data/Race Engineer

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