Motorsport engineers design, develop and test new and improved designs for vehicle structures, engines, transmissions, or other vehicle systems for racing cars and bikes.
As a motorsport engineer apprentice working in design, testing or production, you may help:
- assess new ideas by looking at performance, strength, costs and safety
- design prototypes with computer-aided design (CAD) software
- test components and bodywork
- test working models on the track
- build production models and carry out quality control checks
- ‘finish’ vehicles with the team’s colours and sponsorship logos
As a motorsport engineer apprentice working in racing, you may help:
- set up vehicles to suit track and weather conditions
- monitor engine speed and other data during races
- fine tune the vehicle and send technical instructions to the driver or rider
- carry out ‘after-tests’ on vehicles after a race to look for signs of damage
- Starting salaries for an apprentice is £22,000 per year.
- Experienced motorsport engineers can earn up to £60,000 per year.
39 to 41 hours per week is the norm in design and production. Working for a racing team during race season would involve long and irregular hours, working evenings, weekends and bank holidays.
You are likely based in a single location if you work in design or production. However, as a racing team member, you would be required to travel often and spend a great deal of time away from home.
You could work at a car manufacturing plant, at a garage or in a laboratory.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice motorsport engineer include:
- Level 6 Manufacturing Engineer – Entry requirements for this level include 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship. This qualification will take 60 months to complete.
On a motorsport engineering apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- persistence and determination
- problem-solving skills
- knowledge of engineering science and technology
- analytical thinking skills
- the ability to use your initiative
- the ability to analyse quality or performance
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently.
Career path and progression
With adequate knowledge, you might specialise in a particular technological field, such as engine transmission or electronics.
In addition, it is possible to climb to test or workshop manager, chief engineer, technical coordinator, or technical manager.
You may also apply for incorporated or chartered engineer status with the Engineering Council.